By Rick Charbs, Onrpg Writer
Hovorun was launched in open beta by GamersOxygen, on the 18th of September 2008. Basically, it is a 3D racing MMO, in which players race with hovercrafts rather than cars or planes. There are many hovercrafts to chose from when racing, allowing you to be more deadly and unique on the racetrack. You may also pick from various game modes such as item-based battles, the alphabet mode, in which you must guess a given word, or manual transmission races. Items include mines, monkey-ball bombs, shields, and rockets. You may also pick from various characters; buyable in the in-game shop with money you earn from winning races. Your hovo and character can be decorated to your liking and personality, with clothes, accessories, and more!
Hovorun can be played in races of up to 8 people at a time. You can race against or with these people, with a maximum of 4vs4. This is where the MMO elements of this game take action, though I did not find them very needed or apparent in this title. These elements include levels, guilds, and money. One gains experience and some in-game cash every time they place themselves in a race. The higher your experience level, the more items you will be able to unlock and purchase.
Other activities include tournaments, events, and just chatting with your friends or guild. My experience in the game was rather short-lived. I cant find much that I enjoyed about this one, but I have a few positive thoughts on this title!
Well, first of all, this game is your average racer. Players can race in games of up to 8 and compete to reach first place, racing in hovercrafts. This unique turnaround doesnt add much to the gameplay value, only funnier looking vehicles. There are various racing modes, but the one people play the most is undoubtedly the default three-lap-race. However, races can last up to 9 laps. You then race with basic controls, such as jumping, turning, and item-using. Obviously, the game is room-based, although in Hovorun, youll have many servers to choose from depending where you are from (in Europe). This allows you to be with a crowd of players that can speak your language! I picked the English speaking server, so all went well.
You can customize your own avatar with a few items, as well as customize your hovercraft, and then get ready to join a game or create one yourself. Once youve joined a game, all you have to do is wait for it to fill up and then get ready. Abruptly, the race will start and if your computer isnt all that powerful, chances are that people will have passed you before you get to start. I personally played with a decently powerful machine, and had still experienced difficulties with the settings. Besides, so far you can only truly adjust sound options. That was a big letdown for me, because all of the races I played were extremely laggy. I couldnt play the game effectively most of the time, and I experienced many, many bugs. Every five minutes or so, my character would just fall into the abyss- it was really odd. Of course the game is in a beta phase, but I would consider that a serious issue for a racing game!
The last thing Id like to cover with basic gameplay is the camera view. I cannot express how much I hated it. I couldnt find out how to tilt it in any way, so I assume the default camera angle is all one can have. The camera is almost in first person, but not quite there. In fact, you are zoomed in right up close to your character, making it block most of your screen, which made racing really confusing.
Graphics and Sound
I cant really complain about the graphics in the game. They are really cute-styled, so that may not appeal to everyone, but I enjoyed them. The characters, environments, and hovercrafts were all very smooth, aside from the buggy racetracks. I particularly liked the menus of this game- some really nice graphic design going for them. The sound however, was obnoxious and unnecessary. I turned off my sound as soon as I could. The background music isnt so horrible though; its only everything else. This is adjustable in-game, if you ever decide to mute one or the other. I highly recommend it.
Ill admit this title wasnt so enjoyable. I didnt have much fun racing with my cute hovercraft. I cannot really judge it entirely though, since it is still in the process of fixing. All in all, it has potential, being a racing genre MMO. Hovorun has a good community going and a great website as well. Sadly, this game is absolutely loaded with flaws in terms of bugs and overall gameplay, but it surely has a lot of room to grow. The alphabet racing mode was actually fun and was something I had never seen in the racing MMO genre. The hovercrafts were really funky and interesting to drive, and the characters were limited, but humorous. However, I personally could not stand the sounds, the controls, or the camera angle. I really do hope some improvements in those fields are done by GamersOxygen in the near future, for the good of this game. They are highly required in order to incite a larger community. So far, the community is mostly inhabited by people from The Netherlands. If you are from there yourself, you will highly enjoy the community-no doubt, but there is also a good group of English players, with games open all the time, if you are interested. I figure I wont be playing this one anytime soon; my expectations must have been way too high this time. You can probably find a better racing MMO out there than this one, folks, at least for now.
-Some fun gameplay modes
-Horrible camera angle