Hive Jump is a recent example of a game getting left in the past. Originally released on Wii U in September 2017, Hive Jump was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Switch had been out for 6 months and was lighting up the sales charts. Everyone had moved on from the Wii U. Here we are in 2019, and the developers of Hive Jump bring their game to the Switch where it will no doubt find more of an audience. Although I had fun with Hive Jump on Switch, the experience loses its fun factor quickly and makes for a hard game to recommend.
Hive Jump has a very simple story that mainly just serves as context for blowing up a lot of aliens. Humanity is at war with an evil alien race, and it’s up to you to destroy the aliens and win the war. You control a team of space marines called the J.U.M.P Corps. That’s about it from a story perspective. The game is about destroying aliens, so there isn’t much more you need to know. From a gameplay perspective, Hive Jump is a mix of SRPG and run ‘n gun action. In the SRPG part of the game, you’re presented with a map that has a series of connected nodes on it where you need to build bases on empty nodes or build up your bases on existing ones. Some of those nodes will have alien hives on them that you can attack, and after your turn passes, some aliens will attempt to take the nearest base. However, the vast majority of the game is a run ‘n gun action game.
To be honest, I have mixed feelings on Hive Jump. On one hand, some of the run ‘n gun gameplay is quite fun and challenging. One the other hand, it gets old fast, and the SRPG aspects are not at all good. While it does offer some different gameplay, it ultimately feels like the SRPG gameplay was just thrown in for the sake of being in the game. It’s not very deep, nor is it very fun. It’s just there. Had this aspect been expanded with deeper mechanics, then maybe it would have been a fun addition. However, how it currently is, it just feels like a waste.
Then there’s the actual run ‘n gun side of the game. Mowing downs lots of aliens is a lot of fun, and the weapons you get to do that with are fun to use. No two aliens attack you in the same style, and things can get very hectic when a bunch of aliens are after you. The problem is, again, that things get old fast. There are so many times when you find yourself running through the same environments where every single section of the world looks exactly the same as the section you just left. When you destroy enemies, they drop goo that you have to collect. Yet again, the problem is collecting all that goo for upgrades isn’t rewarding for the time you put into it. Even worse, let’s say you do finally make it to that hive’s boss. Let’s say you’ve spent the last ten minutes fighting the boss, you die, your backpack is destroyed, and you respawn. Guess what? You get to start from the top and do it all over again. It can make for a very frustrating experience, and like most other aspects of the game, this experience loses the fun factor very quickly. Yes, you can play with your fiends in local multiplayer, and while this does somewhat help keep the game fun a little longer than playing solo, it doesn’t help much in the end.
As far as how the game runs on Nintendo Switch, I think it does well. I didn’t notice many issues when playing the game, and the frame rate seemed rather steady. This was a problem with the Wii U version of the game, which struggled to maintain its frame rate. Overall, whether in docked mode or handheld mode, Hive Jump played well on Nintendo’s newest platform.
Hive Jump is a strange game to recommend. The game runs fine, and the run ‘n gun sections of the game can be fun to play. However, after playing through an hour or so of this game, I feel like you’d have experienced everything the game has to offer. It’s a fine game, and with friends it’s a bit better, but it runs out of steam fairly quickly. I probably would only recommend this game to people who really want to play a co-op action shooter on their Switch. It’s a fine experience, but it’s not the most memorable game. You’ll probably play this game, enjoy it for a short amount of time, then move on to another game.
Developer: Graphite Lab
Publisher: Graphite Lab
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 11th January 2019