“Hive” is probably one of my favorite board games to play…it’s simple, elegant, but still maintains a strategic depth that I can get behind. It’s sort of like “Chess”, minus the board and with bug pieces instead of your classic medieval characters. When I discovered the video game adaptation on Steam’s “coming soon” list, I jumped at the chance to review it. To that end, I’d like to quickly thank the folks at BlueLine Game Studios for providing me with a free press copy. It’s important to note that the below review is reflective of the PC version (the XBox version released in 2013).
The main menu will allow you to play a game, view rules & extras, and check out your personal statistics. Under the play menu, you’ll be able to play a local pass and play game, try your luck online, or pit your skills against the AI. The settings menu includes audio sliders, fullscreen toggle, and even a display mode that lets you choose between classic, carbon, or standard. The extras button simply takes you to a Steam overlay, prompting you to buy the game’s DLC (pillbug, priced at $2.99 normally). All in all, nothing to complain about here.
With that said, the video game adaptation is what I expected, and more. It contains all of the core bug pieces found in the board game, with plans to introduce expansions down the line for those extra pieces that some of us have come to know and love. I should quickly note that “Hive” is designed to be a two player experience, through and through, though I am glad to see that the developers added AI support. While there are free “Hive” apps on the Android (and perhaps other devices), the ones I’ve seen are simply local pass and play. Having online and AI support certainly adds to the game’s appeal, I feel.
The AI was fairly competent and I was surprised that I was able to choose between five difficulty levels. The easiest of the five was still pretty challenging, though I noticed that the AI passed up obvious opportunities that would have otherwise ended in my defeat. The interface was fluid and attractive in that the three-dimensional models of the bugs were easy to make out. Clicking and moving a piece was also very easy, as the game tells you where you can move the piece after clicking on it. That’s a great way for beginners to learn how to play the game.
Overall, I found “Hive” to be an excellent video game adaptation of the original. It has AI and online multiplayer, which is more than some adaptations can say for themselves. Ten bucks isn’t a bad price to pay, considering that the board game (Hive: Carbon) is going for about $25-$30 on Amazon. If you’ve always wanted to try the board game but didn’t have anyone to play with, this version of “Hive” will solve that problem and more.
Final Verdict: 8/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Hive” by checking out the links and videos below: