HyperParasite has two unique aspects to its gameplay. First, it is a roguelike on top of being a twin-stick shooter. Secondly, you play as a parasite that can possess hosts, each with their own unique abilities. On paper, this sounds like a winning formula but the final execution leaves something to be desired.
It is different playing as the bad guy. Not only are you shooting down humans, you can possess them, use them as meat shields, and even pop them like a balloon when you want to feast on someone else with different abilities. One thing is for sure, there is a little more emphasis on the rogue elements versus the twin stick action elements. Combat can get crowded but will never be littered with enemies and projectiles like other twin-stickers. Instead, each shot is slower paced and needs to count thanks to reload time and ammo counts. There is a compensating aim-assist feature that would ultimately be game breaking without it. Combat is fine but never over-the-top, fast paced, and entertainingly addictive. It is always something to monitor closely as one false move will send you back to the beginning. Twin-stickers often have action based combat but it is much slower and methodical here. Dodging is also a critical element to success as this roll dive makes the player invincible for a second.
The mapping system and randomness of the rogue elements is where the game places its bet. The mini-map in the corner fills in areas during navigation but doesn’t highlight areas of interest. For example, there is a boss gauntlet door that provides a staggering challenge but doesn’t get marked on the map once found so you better remember where it is. The camera is zoomed out far enough so most of the map can be seen at once but does make each character smaller. This is another reason why combat can be challenging as hitting small moving targets is difficult, hence the auto-aim feature. Having a zoomed out camera makes the environment also look similar. This becomes a bit of a problem since the randomly generated maps are designed to gel in a way that makes sense but can be confusing without any highlighting features. Like the combat, it is fine and it works but is never taken to that next level.
There is a tutorial that is quick and easy to understand but there are portions during the campaign where dialog gets a little wordy. The wordiness comes from the goal of being humorous but ultimately gets in the way of the action. Local co-op is available and is the best way to play this game especially since there are dozens of playable characters to unlock. Unlocking these characters takes time, some grinding, and a bit of luck as the player needs to find a brain during the campaign to active, then a decent chunk of gold must be spent to unlock. It takes a bit of time and doing to unlock even just a single character, let alone any worth while upgrades, so good luck trying to unlock them all.
HyperParasite is a playable game but is held back by the slower pace, the samey environments and objectives, the high difficulty, and the grind to unlock anything new. With a co-op partner, it is a decent way to spend an afternoon but twin-stick fans will probably look for more meat on the bone elsewhere.
Also available on PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.
Not As Good As: Super Smash T.V.
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