Review – Hovership Havoc (Xbox One)

I’m always fascinated when a single developer manages to come up with and release an entire game of their own for a console. I know I shouldn’t expect much from some of these games, as they usually feature a very limited range and scope, but sometimes those brave devs manage to hit the jackpot with their creations. Minecraft and Iconoclasts are great examples. Hovership Havoc is yet another entry on the single dev club. It’s time to find out whether or not this game deserves to be lauded or forgotten.


You start off with a weak ship with a terrible cooldown and bad stats, but it won’t take long until you’re able to upgrade it.

Hovership Havoc is essentially a mix between a twin-stick shooter and a roguelite. You select a ship and then start shooting everything in sight inside randomly generated levels. In each level, your objective is to survive waves of enemies and then destroy all energy pilons scattered throughout small arenas. You can also find secondary weapons in each level (you can carry two at a time), as well as an extra passive boost at the end of each “chapter”. At the end of each second chapter, you will face a big boss. Whenever you die, you’ll rack up all the experience points you’ve amassed throughout your run and you’ll be able to upgrade your ship’s stats such as health, speed, cooling systems, shot range, and so on. It’s a simple premise for a simple game.

Technically-speaking, Hovership Havoc isn’t a disaster, but it’s not impressive either. I applaud it for not being a game full of pre-made assets, considering it was developed by a single person, but it gets visually repetitive pretty quickly. The entire game features a somewhat voxel-based art style that reminds me a lot of that Resogun game released at the beginning of the PS4’s life cycle. It’s commendable that the game has an identity of its own, but I grew tired of destroying the same low-poly enemies over and over again. The bosses on the other hand, were well-designed. The soundtrack is also commendable for not being generic noise, with some tunes even being somewhat catchy, but the game’s overall sound mixing doesn’t help at all. Everything is too loud and the sound effects manage to be even louder than the soundtrack itself.

The controls are decent enough, but you will need some time in order to get used to the overall gameplay and somewhat counter-intuitive button placement. You move with the left analog stick and aim with the right one, as usual. You shoot with with right trigger and use the bumper buttons to shoot your secondary weapons. The dodge mechanic is mapped to the A button, weirdly enough. Considering the focus on basically using the trigger buttons, the dodge mechanic was mapped to a somewhat impractical button. I would have also appreciated an automatic shooting mechanic by just flicking the right analog stick, like a good chunk of twin-stick shooters out there. With that being said, and despite the “floatiness” of your ship which makes it feel like you’re driving after sipping way too many Mai Tais, you can get used to the game’s overall gameplay loop and controls after a while.


Hovership Havoc loves to defy the laws of physics with the amount of enemies thrown at you at any given time.

A roguelite lives and dies by its replayability. Thankfully enough, even though it does feature some bland visuals and confusing controls, Hovership Havoc is fun and very replayable. Once you start leveling your ships up and improving their stats, you’ll start breezing through levels in which you were previously struggling to beat, which encourages you to keep on playing and keep on leveling up. I kept telling myself to play “just one more run” in Hovership Havoc more times than I was expecting. That’s the best thing I can say about this game. It is limited in scope and in its technical department, but it’s very fun. At the end of the day, that’s what matters the most.


Graphics: 6.0

The game features a unique art style and a decent framerate, but visually it is very repetitive. The boss designs are the highlight.

Gameplay: 6.5

It takes a while for you to get used to the controls. The ships feel floaty, as if you were piloting them while drunk. The placement of the dodge button is also a bit dubious. After the initial adjustment period however, the controls become a lot more bearable and even a bit intuitive.

Sound: 6.5

The soundtrack itself isn’t bad, but it is a bit repetitive. The main problem with the game’s overall sound design however, is how nonsensically mixed it is. The music is way too loud and the sound effects managed to be even louder.

Fun Factor: 8.0

It might feature some technical hindrances, but at the end of the day, a roguelite lives and dies by its replayability, and Hovership Havoc features that in bunches. Once you start leveling up, your ship will become a lot more powerful, making you breeze through stages in which you were previously struggling to beat.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Hovership Havoc is available now on Xbox One and PC.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Hovership Havoc was provided by the publisher.