Jeff Minter‘s early grass-cutting maze game, Hover Bovver, was first released by Llamasoft in 1983 for both Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit systems. Both versions are fairly pointless points-scoring exercises with gameplay and maze layouts that don’t really make much sense.
You’re supposed to be cutting the grass for points, but you’re also cutting up the flowerbeds for points too because you’re being chased by enemies and don’t really have much choice but to run anywhere and everywhere. If an enemy touches you you lose a mower, so it’s “avoid them at all costs”, which is easier said than done because they home in on you. One of them is a person, who will take away your lawnmower if he catches you, and the other is a dog with semi-random movement. If the dog bites you it’ll stun you for a while, allowing the man to catch up with you and confiscate your lawnmower.
The mazes don’t really make much sense in the context of trying to keep a garden tidy, but Hover Bovver is a fairly mindless bit of destruction from Minter‘s early C64 library. The chasing enemies are a little too over-zealous for my liking, but the basic game mechanics work fine overall. Graphically it’s not very good. The short tunes are jolly. Hover Bovver is not one of Jeff‘s best games, but it’s not one of his worst either.
Jeff re-made Hover Bovver in 2002 as Hover Bovver 2: Grand Theft Flymo. I haven’t played that one yet, but I do plan to.
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