Kansas City Shuffle
OK, you gave yourself a moment to freak out. Because of the monster. The thing with all the legs and teeth. The one you barely got away from. Minute's up, though.
September 14th, 2017
Hiveswap: Act 1, entitled Kansas City Shuffle, is the first Act of Hiveswap, the Homestuck adventure game, released as a single game episode on September 14th, 2017.
In October of 2012, What Pumpkin Studios and Andrew Hussie announced the start of a Kickstarter campaign for a Homestuck adventure game, a project that later became Hiveswap. The game was originally to be developed by King's Quest developer The Odd Gentlemen, and to be released in 2014, but after a series of production changes the game development moved to an in-house production by What Pumpkin, and it was announced that the game would be released as a series of episodes, of which Hiveswap: Act 1 became the first. Hiveswap itself would consist of four acts/episodes, and would be followed by a second game, Hauntswitch, also in four episodes.
In October of 2016, What Pumpkin announced that Hiveswap: Act 1 would debut in January 2017. However, this deadline was not met, due to a need for further polishing. Eventually, at the end of August, the final release date for Hiveswap: Act 1 was announced as September 14th, 2017, and it released successfully on this date. The credits of the game revealed the title of Act 1 as Kansas City Shuffle.
Act 1's sequel, Hiveswap: Act 2, was announced the following November to be planned for release in the Spring of 2018.
- On the evening of November 11, 1994, Joey Claire plays with Tesseract in the yard of Harley Manor, while Jude Harley observes the other manor nearby with his binoculars. A snake monster suddenly appears from the bushes in the yard, chasing Jude who scrambles for his treehouse. Tesseract also flees for her doghouse, leaving Joey running for safety inside the manor. The monster chases her until she reaches her bedroom. Inside, she establishes contact with Jude by scavenging the batteries of an old Simon to power her Walkie-talkie. To leave a trace of their situation should they can't get out alive, she gets her journal's key from a stuffed animal, as well as a strange key-shaped object owned by her late mother.
- Jude advises his sister to retrieve her "weapon", a flashlight, from the closet in the hallway and seek shelter in the attic, the safest place in the manor. Using her Tap Dance Abilitech, Joey makes the cardboard box containing her flashlight fall from the top of the closet, also retrieving her ballerina shoes and dog treats before heading for the attic. However, the flashlight has no batteries, as Jude used it as a pogs stash, and the door to the attic is locked.
- Jude directs Joey to the trophy room, her least favorite room in the manor because of all her Pa's taxidermized animals, where she will find the attic's key. As she descends the stairs to the living room, the power goes down in the manor, making the trophy room too dark to see anything. Passing through the kitchen to get to the basement and the electric switchboard, Joey scavenges batteries from a radio emitting strange statics to power her flashlight.
- In the basement, Joey uses her Tap Dance Abilitech near a pile of Betty Crocker boxes to access the switchboard and get the power back. As she does this, the snake monster reappears, blocking the way out of the basement. Joey uses her dancing abilities to abscond from the strife. In the trophy room, she strifes with another monster, which she lures out of the room with dog treats. Prompted by Jude to solve the puzzle in the room, she uses a lever disguised as the antler of a stuffed deer, causing white light beams to shoot from the beady eyes of the deer. However, Jude realizes Joey lacks items to complete the puzzle.
- In his treehouse, Jude picks a red and green marble from his own stash and uses small leather pouches for his pet pigeons, the Lone Gunbirds, to deliver them to Joey. He also spots dark figures nearby, whom he recognizes to be the strange neighbors from the nearby manor, who are centered in his conspiracy theories. The first feathered messenger, Frohike, Jude's favorite, is eaten by a flying monster who crashes through the window of the kitchen, to Jude's great horror. The second messenger, Langly, having witnessed the cruel end of his predecessor, simply flies away, to Jude's great anger. The last messenger, Byers, manages to get into the kitchen undevoured, to Jude's great relief.
- As Joey makes her way to the kitchen to retrieve the marbles, she must strife with yet another monster, which tries to eat Byers. After getting its attention with her Tap Dance Abilitech and flashlight, she throws a cloud of spices into its open maw, making it zip through the room and die from concussion. Using an old, desiccated cracker, Joey makes Byers cooperate and get back to the trophy room to solve the puzzle. She puts the marbles in the eye sockets of a stuffed lion head, revealing the attic key hidden in a globe with unfamiliar continents.
- Joey goes back to the living room to go and hide in the attic, but she is confronted by four monsters, who knock her prone. Jude uses his flare gun to get the monsters' attention. Joey then uses her flashlight to get their attention back, making one monster knock another down. The siblings repeat the scheme, making a second monster fall. As Jude is about to fire a third flare, he accidentally drops his gun down into a leaf pile, starting a fire. The remaining monsters are distracted by the light, giving Joey the opportunity to make a run for the attic.
- Joey accidentally traps herself in the attic by letting the key fall through the floorboards after locking the door. Jude is about to call his friends for help and, before statics cut the connection, he urges her sister not to look at the mysterious object concealed under a sheet. Joey ignores her brother's advice, having nothing else to do to pass the time. Under the sheet is a strange machine, which Joey is unnaturally drawn to activate by using her mother's heirloom. As shes take it in hand, the snakes decorating the object animate and pull her to the machine, and when put into the keyhole, it is sucked into it as the contraption activates. The reptilian figures' maws open and a swirling red and green portal opens, pulling Joey into it before hurling her into space in a green ray of light. As she travels, a red ray appears along the green one, transporting another person the other way, toward Earth.
- Cue title.
- Joey lands on Alternia, inside a hive in the subgrubs of a city. Another machine is present, though much more technologically advanced and shielded by a force field. A disoriented Joey picks up a beeping tablet laying on the ground nearby, contacting Xefros Tritoh through text messages. A worried Xefros inquires about the explosion of the hive's roof, believing he is talking to his friend Dammek. When Joey tries to get information about the place, Xefros first thinks it is a test of code-talking. He explains how to access Dammek's hive security, enabling Joey to play a Serpent/Snake game and unlock the doors in the room. She then encounters Dammek's lusus, and flees before his sheer size and strange looks into another room filled with guns and surveillance hardware. Joey contacts Xefros again, who finally gets that he is not talking to Dammek when Joey appears to know nothing about the lusus. Joey mentions having traveled through space, making Xefros excited to meet an alien, though he is still suspicious about her telling the truth. Xefros asks Joey her blood color and is delighted when she says it is red like his. He prompts her to send a picture to prove she really is an alien.
- Xefros mentions Joey is as good as a member of his and Dammek's rebellion, as she is a lowblood and an alien, both hated by the current heiress. As he says this, he remembers that their conversation may be eavesdropped in and cut it short, saying he will get to her in person and assist with Dammek's lusus. After retrieving his trusty Arena Stickball cuebat, Xefros is forced to get both his pusher playbook and grub juice hydration cylinders/grub juice cans to help him unlock, with his meager burgundy-blood psychic powers, the vault containing his lusus sloth treats, to make him move from his front door. As he steps out, a white software box appears from thin air before him. When putting it in his tablet, the software informs him that he acquired the Scratchware, which will protect any past, present and future conversations from being monitored. A missile fired from one of the rampaging Imperial Drones nearby then hits Xefros' gander precipice/balcony, painfully burying him under the rubble.
- The explosion shifts a pile of guns in Dammek's house, revealing a vent Joey can use to bypass the lusus. Still conscious, Xefros informs Joey of his predicament, and she sets off to save him by retrieving the hoverpad he lent to Dammek years ago to move the rubble. Using a glowing energy cube to open the door of the office room, Joey gains access to the main repisteroom, but also triggers a hive-wide lockdown. Xefros explains that Dammek installed these securities to protect their rebellion, which prompts a message written in Doc Scratch's typing style asking if they plan to rebel against the Man, which Xefros denies as they rebel against the heiress. Joey tries to play the Serpent game again to lift the lockdown, but fails. Xefros explains she has to spell a password, which would be the name of his and Dammek's band. He tries to write her the name, but the software automatically hides his password. Joey tries to write her own, but as it is not her device her password is transmitted as is, embarrassing her as it is the name of a boy she likes. Xefros mentions there is also a boy he likes to comfort her.
- After retrieving a piece of paper spelling the correct way to write "Grubbles", Joey unlocks the doors in the room, but also activates a lift bringing the lusus into the room. Joey absconds into the kitchen, and Xefros explains to her the principles of the lusii, while Joey explains to him the concept of parents and family. After finding some lusus milk and a clean bowl to distract the lusus, Joey accesses the upper floor, where she finds Xefros' hoverpad, now modified with Dammek's colors. Xefros explains that Dammek considers private property to be a vehicle for the exploitation of lowbloods by highbloods, which fails to convince Joey this is an acceptable situation between friends. Xefros then explains that the lusus might be hurt and seeking help, and when Joey mentions she has only seen brown blood, which she thought was just ancient and dried, Xefros briefly explains the Alternian blood color caste system. Using the Big Book of Beasts from Dammek's library and an alien veterinarian kit, Joey heals and befriends the lusus, which she calls a "deercat" after his looks. Joey then mounts the deercat and departs from Dammek's hive to help Xefros.
- Outside, Xefros explains he was lucky to be buried, as he wasn't culled or snatched by the Drones like his neighbors. He explains that the heiress kills lowbloods for fun, which is the main motive for Dammek's rebellion. He also mentions that someone was to meet with their group this day, which might have prompted the massacre. With Dammek gone, Xefros feels alone and useless, but Joey stands against his self-deprecation, arguing that his moirail is a bully and that he proved his courage when he tried to come and help her. Cheered up, Xefros says they will have to leave the city to meet with a friend, who happens to be the biggest fangirl of the Grubbles and to also hate the heiress. The two kids ride the deercat out of the burning subgrubs, and Joey pauses to take a selfie with Xefros, revealing that the heiress' ship is looming over the city.
- Aboard her ship, Trizza Tethis, the heiress, takes a selfie, with the burning subgrub making a sick background.
- Main article: Hiveswap achievements#Hiveswap: Act 1
- 1.1 patch
- Cutscene playback improvements
- Changes to resolution on first run of game and more resolution options available in video dropdown
- Various text fixes
- Strife white-screen hang fixed
- Basement tablet interaction issues fixed
- 1.2 patch
- Fixed a bug where players were accidentally switched to incorrect characters during cutscenes or entering minigames
- Minor art fixes
- Minor text and typo fixes (while not explicited, text references to copyrighted material were changed such as Famicom, Mother 2 or Tetris. Bubsy is still there, classy as ever)
- Added missing item interactions
- Minor target ID fixes
- 1.3 patch (also marks the release date for the Linux version)
- In-game text will now only advance when you click the mouse, press the Enter key, or press the space bar, making it easy to take screenshots without further advancing the text
- Various typo fixes
- 1.4 patch
- Fixes a bug where giving milk to the deercat lusus would cause it to disappear
- Typo fixes
- 1.5 patch
- AVPro has been updated, which should fix some crashes related to video playback
- Fixes a bug that occurs when clicking on the Walkie-Talkie icon while simultaneously exiting a room
- During the sequence where Joey makes a break for the attic after retrieving the attic key, it is possible to get a GAME OVER. This happens if Joey takes too long, interacts with too many objects, or if the player switches to Jude. This is the only Game Over in Hiveswap: Act 1.
- Fittingly, the name of the track that plays during this sequence is called "A Singular Peril", referring to the only instance in the game where the risk of failure exists.
- Jacksepticeye's third and final Hiveswap: Act 1 video, posted on both the What Pumpkin Twitter and Tumblr, is exactly 1:11:11 long.