Hover is a game that wears its influences on its sleeve. Jet Set Radio is a pretty obvious comparison, not least for the fact that some of the music is by Hideki Naganuma or that the cel shaded neon future skate style is very rarely used elsewhere, but it’s certain its own game.
Originally released as Hover: Revolt of Gamers, the Switch version has had its name shortened but is still pretty much the same as the PC and console version. It starts with a (limited) avatar selection before dropping you in a pretty comprehensive story-based tutorial that sets the scene and teaches you how to use your powers, including a nifty rewind feature that will certainly come in handy once the main game begins.
For the most part, Hover is content with letting you mill around its day-glo future city, made up of many levels. Instead of the clean, clear streets and straight lines of Jet Set Radio, this feels a little more haphazard, with platforms jutting out at angles, strange half-buildings and archways. It feels like a living city, though, with inhabitants dotted around just doing their own thing. You’ll find tasks from some of them, mostly races, which are where Hover excels, using all its different structural levels to make the journey interesting, but also fetch quests and an odd sports game that seems a little out of place but can be fun in multiplayer and has an interesting light trail dynamic that fills the pitch as you play.
The city is often the star though, with vertical climbs and secrets everywhere. Everything is grind-able and the controls, thankfully, make it easy to perform tricks before landing gracefully back on a ledge. The vistas from the top of a tall building also show off some of this world design and give the game its best moments and, as you can take it at your own pace, you can often just stand there looking out at them. It’s a pity, though, that frame rates can get choppy when it’s trying too hard and it does impact the experience a little at times.
If Hover has a fault it’s to do with purpose, while there’s a story running through the game and a reason to be doing everything you’re doing, it never really comes together all that well. For the most part, though, it’s a fun romp through a colourful futuristic world with skating and graffiti and avoiding the law and for that alone it’s worth picking up.