When one measures the strength of a game that is an adaption of a previous title to a new medium, it becomes vital that one takes into account the strengths and weaknesses of both the original and the quality of the implementation of the new game. The version of Hive I played
is a pre-release version and thus subject to changes, but with 6 hours under my belt I feel I am able to give at least a reasonable assessment of what BlueLine Game Studios
have done with Gen42 Games' work.
Published in 2001, the original Hive is a strategy board game without a board, like with Settlers of Catan the game uses a hex based tile system to create the environment of play, but Hive differs greatly from the beloved German classic. Hive has no fixed play area, it's tiles are it's units and can be played and moved based on a very Chess-like set of structured rules. The game is an enjoyable and varied one which lets players go through a game quickly against their opponent with no need to set up the board or learn too many rules. An additional bonus to the game is that it is largely language-agnostic, once the rules are known nothing in the game requires any kind of reading to cause issues between players.
This PC version of the game sticks well to the original game and implements the ruleset in a very by-the-book manner
that gives no room for house rules, like modifying the unit list of the two players, which is a double edged sword - on one hand you aren't overloaded with a multitude of options in your face from the onset, but you are also limited in what you can do with the game, there are no handicaps. The game comes with the original Hive's expansion, the Pillbug
, a single unit that most players would make a cardboard stand-in for when playing the physical game, in the game as purchasable DLC, which most PC gamers will agree has a sting to it, after seeing the PC version of Settlers of Catan, called simply Catan
, one would hope all developers put as much love into their titles, including all expansions and many differing options for how to play.
Artificial Intelligence in this game on the lower levels is not overly resource hungry, but suffers from being a little daffy at times
, on the highest level the opposite is true however. When playing on the 5th difficulty level you can occasionally wait a couple of minutes
as it plays out possible moves it can take before settling on one and it makes for a much better fight, if a sometimes boring wait.
The musical selection is somewhat boring and repetitive, the game has a single and rather short track that repeats before you eventually disable audio playback after hour one of the song playing with your mind. One assumes it is a placeholder awaiting a little more variety in the playlist.
Interface for the game is a rather bare-bones at this stage, clean and responsive, but not overly attractive. The camera auto-zooms and includes the entire play area in your view, this is again both a good and bad thing, as I could find no means to change my camera angle, which is helpful in a game when you are in a difficult situation and want to get a fresh perspective on the game. Tool tips are in your face, unavoidable, and unclosable
, you have to wait on them to fade away on their own, which is quite bothersome when you only want to see if a unit can move or not. There is presently no customization to the game, one cannot change the game's colours, nor use alternative tilesets to make the game more aesthetically appealing.
As there are no options to change resolution, modify volume, go to fullscreen instead of windowed mode, or change the graphics of the tiles, the game feels a little more limited than what many PC gamers might expect or even demand from a game. But the game is enjoyable
in spite of it's presently simple presentation, one hopes that BlueLine will take what they have and move forward with the ability to control the camera, to change tilesets, unit lists and add a little more polish to the visual and auditory aspects of the title. I can easily say the game is a good one, I am just unsure if Steam users will be able to get past it's aesthetic limitations to the boardgame underneath. For strategy board game fans, this is likely a no-brainer to pick it up, but others will probably be less enthusiastic about the title as when it comes to boardgame adaptions, PC gamers tend to be more into Axis and Allies level complexity, and less into Chess.