Hey everyone! We’ve got a massive update for you and its coming in fast and loose as we’re neck deep in cramming every little improvement we can into the game prior to next week’s Early Access debut.

As Valve wants at least 5 business days to review a build we’ve given them one to sink their teeth into and are brushing up lots of little issues on the side, as well as hammering on a few larger issues too. In advance of next week, we wanted to share the latest on our Early Access features so you know what to look forward to next week. But first: A new BOSS!

Caretaker Boss Preview

Incoming transmission from the H.S.A…

The footage you’re about to see is highly classified. A reconnaissance jump team has identified a new elite Ordovician lifeform. The troopers are calling it “The Caretaker.”

This large crab-like alien moves slowly and methodically over icy terrain and harvests water in the form of ice. The caretaker’s limbs cause protrusions from the far walls of the hives, giving our teams close platforms for direct assault.

Its weak spot can change so Jumpers must change their formation to do the most damage to this massive Ordovician.

Check out a time-lapse of the Caretaker concept art coming together!

WHAT TO EXPECT FOR EARLY ACCESS: DAY ONE

Hive Jump for Early Access focuses on an awesome Arcade experience: action packed run-and-gun gameplay inspired by classics like contra with rouglike touches inspired by industry staples like Spelunky.

You will assume the role of a JUMPER – a soldier bred for the sole purpose of jumping into alien hives to exterminate the viscous hordes who have overtaken these far away planets. You will customize your JUMPER color (9 total), icon (40 total) and even select from available jumper skins (4 total with a special Kickstarter Skin for backers!) for your mission!

The levels or “Hives” of Hive Jump are all procedurally generated – meaning each new mission will be a fresh challenge for you. Each Hive has 4 different regions which you will face including the Crystal Caverns and Mushroom Forests as well as Volcanic and Ice themed locations. Each of these regions is fiercely guarded by a major “boss” alien which the player must defeat to progress.

Earn bonus buffs that improve your “run”! Throughout the mission the player will come across special areas of the hive called “Relic Rooms” which are predesigned challenge rooms that yield player-boosting relics when completed. Players may collect a relic which increases their movement speed, or adds additional armor to their character. These items can be discovered throughout the Hive so the player must explore and discover these treasures to give the best chance for survival!

Meet and rescue NPCs to earn valuable resources! As you work through Relic Rooms be on the look-out for NPCs who share lore and also resources such as goo, grenades and health! You never know, some may even be visiting from other amazing indie titles!

You will be able to unlock and upgrade 11 different weapons! Pulverize aliens with pulse rifles, flamethrowers, gamma rays and more – each with 3 upgrade levels that will supply greater function and power!

Unlock and Equip from a collection of 9 GRENADES to deliver maximum damage to the alien menace. Grenade types include sticky casing, trip wires, and even cluster bombs which do damage to a wider area.

Unlock and equip from 8 UTILITY items to support your mission! These Utility items range from protective shields and teleportation tools to healing items which can all mean the difference between success and a gruesome failure.

The Early Access release will feature three different game modes as well. Players can play an ARCADE mode which drops 1-4 players (local, with online play coming soon – more details below) into an alien hive comprised from 3 of the 4 environments. Our fastest runs through this mode have lasted between 30 and 40 minutes making it a perfect “jump in and play” experience!

We’ve also added Daily and Weekly Challenges which will load a pre-determined level each day or week, respectively. This will give the “speed run” player something they can practice and improve upon, in order to post scores and times on our leaderboards (which are coming soon, but won’t be available day one).

This is all set to a great soundtrack from Big Giant Circles (Mass Effect 2, Borderlands 2) with sounds from FatBard (Crashlands)!

We’ve worked our tails off to ensure full controller support, so enjoy that twin-stick excellence as you roast enemies with the comfort of a controller!

A note about STEAM Online Multiplayer:

This one is coming down to the wire. We’re confidant we have the right people for the job and that we will have you jumping Hives online with Steam matchmaking soon, but as of today this feature is not complete. Users can access an online lobby, and can search for their friends. They can invite and accept, as well as kick friends from the lobby. Host can start the match and can use chat functions to communicate with their team. Once in a match, however, dis-synchronization of data causes the game to become unplayable. The factors that contribute to this are systems like the physics systems (which we’ve fixed) but also many others such as all of the random events that can show up in a hive, as well as our complex AI (all of which we are working on around the clock).

Any game developer will tell you that networked multiplayer is among the most taxing and time-consuming challenges to add to a game. It’s been our biggest stress with the entire production. We are still devoted to this feature and rest assured we will have it up and running asap, keeping you informed every step of the way.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter – and tell your friends about the game!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hivejump/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hivejump

Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/295670