On Fridays, Gamer’s Almanac runs a special program called Crowd Funding Friday where we feature games on kickstarter, greenlight, and other platforms to help them get exposure and support. This week, Gamer’s Almanac is taking a look at the split-screen arcade arena game, Hoverloop!
As the trailer shows, the key to Hoverloop is action packed fun and, of course, drones. Hoverloop is a split-screen arcade game that invites you and three friends to play against each other or the computer. In it, you customize and control drones by gliding, shooting, and shielding to fight with or against your friends. Hoverloop’s developers, Not a Company, are focused on bringing gaming back to the couch by focusing gameplay on local co-op rather than online play.
There are currently 7 different modes in the game’s pre-alpha, but Not a Company is aiming for 10 modes to be available upon release after funding is met. Modes include a classic Deathmatch, Tag, Capture the Flag, fighting AI enemies in Invasion, and my personal favorite, Air Hockey. The game also features different arenas that you can play on, which adds variation to your experience and lets the player learn how to navigate different maps.
The game features a few different types of drones that each have different abilities and can be customized by material and color so you can always stand out from your friends. There are also currently two themed unique drones: the teleporting steampunk model, and the fire-breathing dragon. Classic drone abilities currently include shielding, super speed, reversed controls, and a death ray. Developers have also stated that they plan to add further cosmetic customization when the game is funded, such as drone trails and themed hats.
The final option to throw a bit of variety into your gameplay are weapons. Different types of weapons, from healing rays to machine guns, can be found scattered across the arena depending on what mode you are playing in. They run out of ammo though, so it’s important to always be on the hunt for a new weapon to take down your enemies or defend your teammates. Racing your friend to grab a gun is a competitive experience. That said, the combat and controls in the game are easy to grasp (if not currently a little finicky to handle, as Hoverloop is still working on the game’s physics) for players of all skill levels. This, combined with Hoverloop’s enemies being mechanical rather than human, makes for a game that is gore-free and family friendly while still being enjoyable for older audiences as well.
Before playing the game myself, I’ll admit to being a bit skeptical of the concept. When we think of split screen arcade, most likely games such as Nintendo’s classic Mario kart are at the forefront of our minds. Drones don’t sound as appealing as colorful characters and the screech of tires, but I found myself growing surprisingly attached to my donut-shaped hero. My custom-made machine fought enemies and hockey pucks alike at my command, all while repping the Gamer’s Almanac orange and blue. Hoverloop’s capability to get the player invested in their drone (and training a death ray on their friends) while still in Alpha is one of its greatest assets. Unless you’re playing against AI, Hoverloop also relies entirely on the skill of the player for an enjoyable experience, which means its difficulty scales with you. It likely won’t be the sort of game that tests the very limitations of your skill and drives you mad with challenging arenas, and there’s something great about that. When you’re just trying to have a good time hitting hockey pucks, stealing flags, and shooting down your friends, that’s exactly the kind of game that shines.
Hoverloop has a week left to reach its kickstarter goal of €15,000 to release the game on PC and Xbox One. Backer rewards range from a copy of the game and participation in the Alpha and Beta to helping with the process of drone and weapon design. They’ve also revealed their first stretch goal, to be met at €15,500, which is to have a voiced announcer for the game. Most of the funding raised on kickstarter will be allocated to development, and the rest will be divided between the business side with taxes, fees, and risk mitigation. Not a Company has the extra challenge of trying to build a community for online play with this kickstarter, as Hoverloop is their first project. They’re hoping to build a fan-base through their social media profiles on Facebook and Twitter as well, and as an incentive are promising to reveal another game mode every time they reach a follower goal. The small Not a Company team, Philippe Mesotten and Lars Dreissen, certainly have a challenge ahead of them, but they already are off to a promising start with the pre-alpha and a successful Greenlight campaign on Steam. To help give backers a better vision of the game, Not a Company has even made a free demo available on their kickstarter page (under the budget section.)
My own experience with the game’s pre-alpha was promising. Though there were parts of the game that needed some polishing (mainly menu cosmetics and physics) the gameplay was already there and enjoyable, which bodes well for a game that hasn’t even been funded yet. Hoverloop is a unique addition to the splitscreen arcade genre and brings out the competitive side in a group of friends while keeping everything enjoyable. If Hoverloop is this fun to play in pre-alpha, it has the potential to be a standout couch co-op if it reaches its goal.
Hoverloop is being developed by Not a Company for PC and Xbox One. For more information, visit the game’s official website. To support the game, visit their kickstarter, which ends May 12th, or follow their social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.