Hiveswap Friendsim (PC) REVIEW – Not For The Sane

If you love the Homestuck universe, Hiveswap Friendsim might tide you over for an hour.

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Developer: What Pumpkin Games, Inc.
Publisher: What Pumpkin Games, Inc.
Platform: PC
Review code purchased

With your broken arm, you start slapping the big ass of the screaming tick, while yelling “yeehaw”.

If you are a fan of the point-and-click adventure game Hiveswap, it’s sad to say that the next installment has not arrived yet on Steam. Two weeks ago, however, it was announced that a short visual novel was to be released featuring upcoming characters. I present to you Hiveswap Friendsim: a short visual novel centred around forming friendships with numerous unusual characters.

Before this game was announced, fans of Andrew Hussie’s work were surprised to hear that the comic Homestuck had been moved to a new website by Viz Media, a company who has been tasked with converting the infamous webcomic into book form. To add to this surprise, those who have worked on Hiveswap Act 1 are listed as no longer working for the company. It is safe to say that the community is uneasy that the future of this franchise will be produced by people who lack the passion and care the original team had, considering that they are primarily fans. For now, we can only hope for the best.

Upon starting the game, you are greeted by an unusual sight: soft, enticing music by James Roach, a beautifully-coloured background and a person styled like a stick figure with minor detail. It grabs your attention.

The game is styled like a dating simulator and has been rated M (not surprising, considering it was written primarily by Hussie). The main difference, as the name implies, is to befriend an alien in the hopes that you’ll survive on the alien planet you perhaps know and love to a degree. At the moment, there’s only a choice of two characters: Ardata, a blue-blooded woman who radiates intimidation and Diemen, a small, friendly boy whose life centres around hot dogs. This is not an exaggeration.

Initially, I attempted to befriend Diemen while jumbled jazz music played. Anything he says is structured so that it looks like the text is on a hot dog and any mention of said is flashed on screen in bold yellow text. He is initially self-conscious about his favourite food and demands you not look at it. Over time, he reveals his backstory about how rough life has been recently. It is possible to share a hot dog with him, but you must stay calm when the time comes. If you have a partner, it would be wise to shove them out of the room when you eat the oblong meat product like the dogs in Lady and the Tramp.

Ardata’s route is certainly darker and has a classy theme to accompany it. Her words have three I’s to match her three eyes and your initial interactions with her demonstrate how it is possible the blueblood is descended from 80’s anime villains as shown by her laughter and hand gesture. Beneath that exterior, perhaps she has a more sensitive side; despite her cruel demeanor and appearance, it may be possible she is more than that. For now, though, it’s best not to trust her. You can’t hide anything from her; she has mind powers.

The game is extremely short as of now. There is a good reason for this: more characters will be available to try and befriend in the future as DLC for a low cost. Don’t worry, the game itself is cheap at just over a dollar. If you have time to kill and are looking for a laugh, it’s worth buying.