Publisert: 26. juni, 2014
Análisis en español aquí
I can barely recomend this game. It is good but a small amount of issues makes it not so pleasurable as it should.
For start I should explain what this game is about, without going into details about the rules and moves of each type of piece.
Hive is a well known tabletop game for two player. It doesn't use a board, instead players take turns to place or move their hexagonal pieces (representing bugs) contacting one another and thus forming the playing area (hive). Each type of piece has its own move (like chess). The goal is surround the opponent's queen bee while we protect our own queen.
Hive is a very good game, awarded over here and over there, by these and those people. The description of the Steam store handles make it clear that it is a awarded game. It's a game with not too much rules to learn, easy to play. Still the game has a lot of strategy to consider. Move or place? Attack or defend? Which and how many bugs play or conserve?
The game stays true to the rules of the tabletop game and therefore it's played practically the same, except for the difference we not have to wonder if every move is valid. Just click on on of your pieces and it will be show the places where we can place it with another click.
About the AI, it can take too long time to decide to move, especially in higher difficulties, so the match will always be interrupted. Also the AI is not very smart in higher difficulties.
*Graphic user interface
The menu is simple and minimalist. That is usually good, but this time it's taken to the extreme scarcing in basic options such as selecting screen resolution.
When a match is created you can choose how to compete with our rival (remember that it's a two players game). We can play against artificial intelligence on 5 difficulties, on line through Steam, and two local modes, each player with its own peripheral (keyboard and gamepad) or sharing the same peripheral (pass and play).
During the match, the playground is a wooden surface, on which we will place the pieces. The pieces are placed or moved, first by clicking them and then clicking on one of the marked areas. The pieces can't be dragged.
We can control the point of view but not the zoom, which is automatically adjusted to make visible all pieces.
It can be summarized as boring and repetitive. Little choice and very boring. I know it must not distract players, but it is soooo boring that is annoying and you will end up turning it off. As a curiosity I can mention that some sound effects and music are free from Freesound.org
* Online gaming
As multiplayer game, online gaming should be an important part. In this section we can create and join public and private lobby, although the private ones can only be joined by invitation.
It has an ELO rating system (like chess and go). This is a scoring system to calculate the skill level of the players. So when creating a game we can choose whether we want it to be "rated game" or not. That is if we want to bear in mind that rating system for the match or not.
It doesn't have online player waiting to play. It's one of those games you must play with friends since you can not find random players.
An important negative point is that the online game often fails, forcing you to restart it. That doesn't always happen, only in matches you think you are going to win. I don't know how that affects your score because I have not played with that option enabled, but I suspect it should not be good since my opponent informed me that the game notify him I abandoned the match
when it failed and we had to start another one.
One last detail in this section. The game requires Steam to play online. An important detail to note as it is advertised as DRM-free on the dev's website via Humble widget.
Something you should know is that the game is incomplete, it has missing pieces. These missing pieces are sold separately as DLC. As a result you get an incomplete game and additional parts cost almost as much as the base game ($10 base game and $3 each of 3 DLC, $19 total), although there are discounts for purchasing bundles. Unfortunately, developers planned to sell the game this way from the begining. Probably they developed the game thinking about the DLC. They justify this by comparing it with the physical version of the game (a comparison that does not seem appropriate to me). As if that were not enough to buy an intentionally incomplete game, each DLC gives only one piece which is distasteful (remember that it's about pieces of a tabletop game, not hats or skins). These extra pieces already existed at the time of game release, they didn't have to think and create new pieces.
If you own a DLC, you can use it in a match although your competitor doesn't own it, both player obtaining additional parts. That means that content is included for all in the game and is not an optional extra download, but is locked until you shell out more money. Note that we talk about pieces of a tabetop game and not about hats or cosmetic items, for a paid game, not a F2P in which would be acceptable.
+ It's Hive and maintains its rules.
+ Online multiplayer.
+ It has artificial intelligence so that those who are "forever alone" can enjoy it.
- DLC based business model. The game is incomplete and you must pay almost double for the extra pieces (every DLC offers one miserable piece). $19 for the full game is very overpriced for a game like this with all the drawbacks.
- Repetitive and boring music.
- Few options. Not much to modify to your pleasure. You can not change the game screen resolution, to do this you must change the desktop resolution. You can not control the zoom.
- Artificial intelligence is slow. This is more noticeable in higher difficulties.
- No online players (though no fault of the game).
- DLC. I have already said it, no?
- It is only available in English. It is not necessary to know english to play if you know the rules. Conversely, if you do not know them, you must learn them in english. Language can be a barrier and this may impair the growth of the community.
- Online matches usually fail.
- No low-end system friendly.
I should mention that many of the comments and analysis I read are outdated. Some corrections:
- Camara and perspective. Now we can move the camera, but the zoom is adjusted automatically.
- Options. You can play in windowed mode or full screen and can also change the volume of music (can be lowered to not hear it) and sound effects. Can not change the resolution yet.
- Appearance and aesthetics. Now you can choose the tileset between 3 options: Standard (with 3D bugs), Classic (as the classical version of the game) and Carbon (black and white as carbon edition physical version). Pop-ups are less obtrusive and pieces no longer float, now are sustained on a wooden table.
- Artificial intelligence. It has been improved both in their deciciones as in the time it takes. It is still slow in higher difficulties.
- Missing pieces. The missing pieces are sold as DLC.
- It is not DRM-free. No, it's not. It is advertised as such but to play online you need Steam. You can copy the program files but only work to play without internet connection.
Edit: Since I wrote this review, there was an update that fixes some online problems (some of which I was a victim). I didn't test it yet.