Many thanks to the publisher for the review code.
(HOME)STUCK ON ANOTHER PLANET
Hiveswap Friendsim is a collection of 18 micro visual novels set in the Hiveswap/Homestuck universe. Don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with either, as it’s not really important to the understanding of the story.
All you need to know is that the nameless protagonist has crash landed on an alien planet known as Alternia and is desperate for companionship. Broken bones and hunger be damned – all our traveller wants is friendship. This unusual world is full of trolls with super strength, and rivalries between factions based on blood; there’s a lot of lore to this world that our protagonist cares little about. You don’t care if their blood is red, blue, or violet – you just want a friend or forty.
With each volume having two friend tales for you to experience, you’re left to follow the story and make a small number of choices in order to win them over. Making friends is harder than you may initially suspect, however, as some seemingly good choices can end the narrative over before it even begins. Considering each story only takes about 5 minutes to get through, going back through isn’t that much of an issue should you choose to do so. Personally, I opted for experiencing each character’s tale only once as it felt far more satisfying having to live with my bad choices as I made my way towards the end.
Of course, a narrative game is nothing without its presentation and its writing and both of which are reasonably solid throughout. The MS Paint visuals are mostly well done with only a handful of places feeling a little subpar, but even those moments are held up by the consistently excellent soundtrack. The darkly comedic writing, however, is far more uneven – largely as a result of having different writers dealing with different character’s stories. Some of which are really well written and engaging, whereas others feel like embarrassingly bad fan-fiction. It made it a hard game to get into with some earlier duds, but by the end I found myself rather invested in the world – even if that end was far closer than I would have liked.
The uneven writing and short length spoil what is largely a charming series of tales about a nameless guy with a friendship fetish. Fans of Homestuck and/or Hiveswap will no doubt eat this right up, but anyone else may wish to wait for a drop in price.