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Power Hover (PC) artwork

Power Hover (PC) review


"Welcome to the special stage zone. Get panzer."


For the robotic populace of a desert wasteland, stepping one foot outside their homes constantly invites danger, and it seems to be a normal occurrence. One can traverse a supposedly peaceful gorge, when suddenly, giant killer drills come spilling out of the sand. Wandering into a mysterious temple instantly summons danger, as a complex security system starts spewing red death lasers and ceiling crushers by the masses. But this is especially painful for your protagonist, as the hoverboarding android deals with these obstacles in constant succession, since it needs to hunt down a thief that stole all the batteries from its village.

Trekking across the immediate landscape and beyond in this third-person auto-runner is no small order, collecting dropped batteries while avoiding contact with any possible hazard that takes away one of your lives in a single hit. Weave around huge, spiked rollers, use ramps to hop over objects, automatically grind on rails, and other such things you would expect from an auto-runner with a hoverboard gimmick. And you'll do so at a blisteringly... leisure pace. Despite Power Hover's steady march through visually minimalist backdrops, something the Unity engine seems quite adept at, it never feels like a slog. In fact, it's surprising how varied the game tries to be, regardless of how much it hits or misses the mark on several occasions.



One such stage makes you pass by supposedly lifeless robots with crab-like legs, and the things are so big, they barely fit into the screen's frame. The machines then come to life, and you spend the remainder of the stage dodging their legs, which are conveniently next to batteries. Another stage forces you to survive a series of huge, spiked rings that like to rock back and forth, and of course, the much sought after batteries are where you think they are. But a seemingly reoccurring fav of the devs are stages that allow your character to hover on walls and ceilings. Early on, this starts off innocent enough, but then they become more daring, allowing you through tight shafts with multiple, rotating fans and holes, and one stage even propels you onto the ceiling whilst avoiding light-sensitive traps.

While most are entertaining and some challenging, the rest seem like they missed the mark, as if the devs introduced a concept, then completely forgot they made it. There's a maze-like stage that makes you repeat pathways if you go in the wrong direction, similar to something you see in the original Super Mario Bros. game. That's the only time that gimmick is introduced... Also, in the first infinite runner boss stage, there's a power-up item that temporarily slows time, and you never, ever see that power-up again for the entire playthrough. Either they just flat out forgot about these, or the developers were experimenting with ideas to see what would work, and just kept in the stuff that wasn't expanded upon for variety's sake. Regardless, it's weird how much stuff feels abandoned.

Though, I feel Power Hover's most glaring flaw is its insistence on using cheap tricks as a form of "challenge" for impeding the player's progress. If you're in a stage where the thief is being chased, you have to stay behind the robber to grab the dropped batteries, but occasionally a bomb is tossed. There's no leeway or indication that this will happen; it just happens. There's even a moment where the thief drops a bomb as you're landing from a ramp. If you're adamant about collecting all the batteries within a stage, this is going to be irritating. In another stage, a wall literally pops out of nowhere a second before you're about to grab an extra life. The second stage boss even resorts to being cheap, as a few of its attack patterns actually have different patterns within them that don't give you enough time to react. All these instances happen too many times than they really should.



It's a confusing waste of time, as well, considering the devs go out of their way to cancel out their own malice. If you missed a battery or know you're about to lose a life, you can just pause the game and restart at the closest checkpoint without consequence. The only places where the game feels like a genuine challenge, in spite of their mounting difficulty and cheapness, are the infinite runner boss stages, since there's no checkpoints or lives. Granted, you won't foresee every obstacle and you will lose lives, but the fact that this option, this "escape," is available makes me question if the concept of checkpoints and lives were really thought out beyond their inception. If the checkpoint and live systems had been reworked, the cheapness factor tinkered with, and maybe add a small health meter, it might have worked better.

The game sounds like a jumbled mess because of all the odd and irritating things it does. However, because of the developers' weird and trivial counterbalancing powers that's basically thanks to restarting, Power Hover is still ultimately a standard auto-runner that only occasionally becomes a nuisance. Due to its checkpoint system, I was able to collect every battery through the game's 35 stages without much trouble, and easily managed a three-star rating (the highest) on nearly every stage. If you were looking for some solid challenges, the only stages that give you that are the five boss stages and the five bonus challenges, both sharing similar styles. Everything else is a pretty tolerant experience, even with the cheap attacks. Though, the last two stages in the main game get ridiculously masochistic, so it does give me comfort that Power Hover never cranked up the difficulty beyond that.

Note: this review is based on version 1.7.0 of the game.

3/5

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (March 28, 2017)

Thus concludes "I Didn't Expect to Give Every Suda51 Game a 2/5 Rating" Month.

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hastypixels posted March 29, 2017:

Not one instance of "bog standard". I rather like your use of gameplay video in this review. Going to give that a try to liven things up in my next one. Thanks pickhut. :)
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pickhut posted March 29, 2017:

Thanks for reading and commenting, and you're welcome! Hopefully it works for yours. It's one those things where I use a video if I "feel" it's appropriate or think it's gonna help add to the review.

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