Hypergun (PC) Review and Stream
Interesting level design
Lack of animation
Weird difficulty spikes
Future Blood Dragon
The 1980s were a wonderful time filled with truly outrageous ideas, colors, and themes. From that era we got an idea of the future with lasers, ultra-bright neon colors with dark-lights, and aliens. Throw in an awesome synthwave soundtrack, and you had the apex of futurism circa the 1980s. The new FPS rogue-lite Hypergun is the epitome of this ideal with its retro-futuristic look and feel. You play as Dewey Owens, the bravest intern of all time as you try to save your work from killer aliens with a gun that gets upgraded with random parts so you can create the ultimate weapon.
You can watch my stream of Hypergun embedded below:
While playing, it becomes apparent that this is very much a love letter to 80’s and possibly 90’s scifi with its soundtrack, look, and feel. The incredibly bright colors make you feel like you’re in a rave with a black-light on so everything glows intensely. Also, everything has a very “techno” look to it as your arm holding the gun is robotic, the floors are lighted and have pulsing energy flowing through them, and the enemies all have robotic armor on, or shields to protect them. It somehow creates a feeling of nostalgia for a future that is yet to come, much like the Jetsons did for what we thought the future would be like in the 50’s.
While you do have to start out as Dewey the intern, you can eventually unlock other characters which also means other classes. Different powers and weapons with different stats means a lot of different styles of gameplay, but it’s a bit annoying that they have to be bought in the first place. This does however force you to play the game quite a bit to earn enough bits to unlock the characters, meaning that you have the skill to make full use of them, but I don’t agree that they need such skills to be used.
The idea of a procedural level creation is not a new one, but it’s used well for the setting here. Each stage does feel different, and with that comes the ups of downs of being random like never getting a store to spend your bits you earned, or getting too many stores and no enemies to kill. Along with the level, you also get random upgrades for your gun that range wildly from amazing to totally useless or even detrimental. However, even with all this random chance, it seems that the enemies don’t appear as random, as you see so many of only a handful of enemy types that each stage becomes more of a chore than a new level to be overcome. The lack of variation really hurts due to the fact that you will die multiple times by design but the enemies hardly ever change.
Hypergun is not just a grab for nostalgia, but a real attempt to create new world that people wanted and put you in it as the hero. It hits the right notes of aesthetic so well, but forgets the polish needed to put it in the big leagues. But the feel, sound, and visuals are good enough to help you forget the clunky gameplay and repetitive enemies. If you ever wanted to feel like a hero in an 80’s sci-fi movie, here’s the game for you.