May 30, 2013 5 Comments
H.i.v.e. is a digital version of a moderately popular, award-winning tabletop game. It’s also one of those rare Xbox Live Indie Games that is officially licensed. You can think of H.i… you know what, fuck it, I’m not using the periods. Think of Hive as a cross between chess and dominoes. You’re given a collection of hexagonal tiles, each with its own movement properties. One of the tiles is a queen bee. You have to place the queen on the board within your first four turns. Gameplay continues until one queen bee has been completely surrounded on all sides, whether the titles belong to you or your opponent. In addition to the bee, there’s also ants, grasshoppers, spiders, and beetles. Ants can move to any free space as long as there is a path to get to it. Spiders must move three spaces at a time. Beetles can walk over and cover other tiles. And grasshoppers can only move by jumping over pieces. If you want to read the full rules, you can click here. You probably should too. Our first game didn’t involve any rule reading, because Bryce thinks rules are for squares. We didn’t know fuck all what we were doing, which explains why I lost to.. sorry Bryce.. a FUCKING MORON!
Of course, that doesn’t explain why I lost eight straight games to Brian immediately following that, but you shouldn’t dwell on that. I certainly haven’t. Sniffle.
H.i.v.e. is a lot of fun. I’ve never played the board game that it’s based on, but the interface created by BlueLine Games is well handled. I’ve always questioned the existence of video-board games that only strive to recreate the exact experience of the corporeal version. But actually, I think in the case of games like H.i.v.e., they serve a purpose of making complex games easier to learn. It lays out for you exactly what moves are legal, what pieces can be moved, where they can be moved, etc. It takes the edge off the learning curve to a huge degree. But, it still is a no-frills video game version of a board game. I firmly believe that the best video board game do things that only can be done in the realm of games, and that doesn’t apply to Hive.
Hive is also not without faults. As of this writing, online play is unstable. In thirty attempts at playing online, only eight games successfully connected. If both players are able to make an opening move, the connection won’t drop, but that barely happens a quarter of the time. The developers are aware of this issue, but I’m actually not grading against it. I preferred playing locally against human opponents sitting right next to me. You can play against the AI, which actually isn’t that bad as far as video game AI from a first-time developer goes. Early on at this site, I played Avatar Chess, which had genius-level AI even on the easiest settings. While the AI in Hive can lean towards the fierce side on medium, the easy setting is a good way to break into the game, but not so dumb that you’re embarrassed to play it. I can’t tell you how good the hard mode is, because I didn’t really try it. I had enough difficulty beating Brian, who isn’t exactly a rocket scientist. Not that I’m obsessed with the fact that I couldn’t beat such a simpleton. I’m not. Really. DAMN YOUR ACCUSING EYES, STOP LOOKING AT ME!!
So let it be said that Hive, a simple adaption of a cult board game, is the game that ended the Leaderboard’s losing streak. Despite having no apparent talent for it, I had a great time playing it. I even played a few rounds against my father, and it was very fun to bond over. I mean, he wiped the floor with me too, but I still had fun in my failure. I liked H.i.v.e. so much that I ordered the actual game off Amazon. So while it doesn’t really need to exist as a video game, I’m happy it does. And by the way, Brian can’t even remotely come close to beating me at chess, so obviously I’m better than him. I think that’s how it works.
240 Microsoft Points have a boyfriend who noted that he routinely kicked my ass at Spectrangle too, the cocky fuckwad.
A review copy of H.i.v.e. was provided to Indie Gamer Chick by BlueLine Game Studios. The version played by Cathy was paid for by her with her own money. The review copy was provided to a friend just to help test online functions. That person had no feedback in this review. Consult the Indie Gamer Chick FAQ for how this policy works.