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Developer : Game Cooks
Type: Racing / Arcade
Price: 2$
Length: Medium
Controls: TouchPad


VR Downhill racing on hover boards

HOVR mixes the Endless Runner genre with the old style linear racers. Simple and accessible, the 2$ price tag is fair compared to many other games on the Gear VR store. It can provide a few hours of racing fun. If you ever played Tony Hawk Downhill jam, or any Snowboarding race game, well the concept is similar.

The Story provides a good look into the developer’s commitment to their game, but lacks in continuity.  It sets the base of what could be a developing IP. The characters and context are kind of great. You play the role of hackers who ride hover boards. Trying to figure out how to control “The Serve”, a mind controlling tool used to make earth citizens helpless workers, and sell it to the highest bidder. Don’t expect to be hacking any system as you play, this is a racing game.

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The feeling of speed is done very nicely.

The goal, of course, is to be the first to reach the end line, where the bidders await for your data. The gameplay is quite simple, your racer accelerates automatically towards the end line just like endless runner games.  You steer left or right with turning your head. The touchpad is the only input you’ll need.   Pushing it will use your limited booster, releasing will jump.
In mid-air, touching it will perform a trick and raise the combo multiplier by 1. Holding it will maintain the trick and raise the score of the combo itself.

Trick it like Tony Hawk

You must land the combo correctly or you will lose your points.  Also you have to reach the next checkpoint before time gets to 0 to get extra time until you cross the finish line.  At the end, your score will consist of the tricks you landed correctly during the race, the position you finished and the time remaining when you crossed the finish line.   This score is added to your wallet and can be spent to upgrade the 4 characters. You must reach a high score on a single race to unlock the next one.

The 4 characters each have different stats and a unique special skill. Green, Max, Billy and Sonny can each be upgraded with the points you earned racing the other hackers, raising their stats and allowing you to perform better. Billy is probably the best to upgrade at first as he will give you multiplier bonus on your points at the end of the race, making it easier to unlock the next race and gather points to upgrade the characters.

Power it up

Power-ups are varied and provide instant boosts or offence maneuvers. The most common is Boost cans, filling up your boost reserve and boost pads, giving a brief speed burst.  Weapons like the dynamite act as mines and are mostly useless. Missiles will trigger as you pass them and hit forward enemies at close range. Effective only if you are close to enemies.  The armor protects you temporarily of such threats. There are also special moves that you trigger by passing them midair. Jumps and moves are the key to raising massive points but take longer to achieve. A good balance of standard (touch pad) moves and special moves in a jump is the key to high scores.  There’s an online leaderboard, so prove you are worth the challenge.

The team had put great efforts to create visuals that fit their game, from the small apartment where all the menus are scattered, to the level themselves where elements and power ups are consistent to the ambiance it delivers.  They manage to keep the game fluid at all time, even when a lot of actions are going on. In this type of game, it is a good decision they took to lower quality of textures, effects and polygons to maintain an optimal frame rate in an environment that keeps moving at all time.

Controller-Support?

Controller is not officially supported, but the single button design makes most remote compatible, while it won’t work in some menus.   I found it a little easier to play with my remote instead of the touchpad. It took me time to break the reflex of using the joystick to steer, like I’m used in racing games (as stated, controller is not supported).  It’s up to you to decide if you’d rather use the touchpad or a controller for the single touch input.

Currently offering 4 racetrack, you will spend a few races on each tracks to unlock the next one.  Grinding the tracks will help you discover the many routes each one offers, and will get you points into your wallet every time, letting you level up your characters. I wish there were more track.

Conclusion

The simplicity of this game makes for its price. If you have 2$ to spend, this title is to consider among all the others it’s not the best 2$ but it’s better than some of the more expensive ones. It’s a great introduction to VR and I wish to see this IP evolve.  Hover Board racing Hackers is original and could be exploited more deeply, but don’t expect this game to deliver on the long-term.  The lack of continuity is definitely a flaw that should fixed by adding a story-line between levels.  It would add a purpose that is currently missing.  For younger children, this game could provide the entertainment and simplicity to have them coming back more often than adult players, unless you are the hardcore type that will fight for the leaderboard’s first place.

 

 

HOVR : VR Racing fun for the masses
Easy to pick up gameplay and a 2$ price tag is a great mix to be introduce to VR. More experience players might not find much value, but younger audience will definitely like the style and game-play.
Gameplay6
Graphics7
Sound6.5
VR Design7
Value7
Pros
  • Easy to learn
  • Character Design
Cons
  • Uncompleted story
  • Some power-ups are useless
6.7Overall Score

About The Author

Following VR Industry since the 90's, I covered dozen of events and wrote hundreds of blog posts and news articles. Unfortunately, there's not enough of 24 hours in a day to check everything there is to see. That is my only regret.

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