It isn’t exactly abnormal for the stars of a first-person shooter to be the weapons themselves. In HYPERGUN by NVYVE Studios, it is clear from the jump that their main character, the Hypergun, more than the wielder, is the growing, changing protagonist of this plucky, intense rogue-like FPS. After poking around DevTech labs for a while, will players be of ample fortitude to step into the simulator and battle countless aliens while developing the Hypergun to it’s fullest potential? Ready your trigger fingers, this is our Hypergun review.
You initially start your journey as the intern Dewey Owens inside of DevTech Labs. As you quickly race through the offices, you’ll find many different laptops and post it notes laying about which briefly explains the mindset of the team responsible for the simulator you will soon become very acquainted with. The story, as far as I could gather is that aliens have attacked the earth, and the Hypergun and this simulation could potentially be earths last hope, if Dewey can complete the simulation successfully. Despite piecing together tidbits of the story from various sources, navigation and interaction throughout the building certainly plays second fiddle, with a few achievements that you can unlock for reading a note or two, but aside from a single post it in the elevator that you start in, the true tutorial doesn’t really begin until you enter the simulation chamber.
Hypergun is considered a “Rogue-Lite” game in the sense that every map is randomly generated, but built similarly in a tiled map layout like many rogue-like games. At first glance, Hypergun is nothing more than a simply shooter, but the complexity of the game, and difficulty, is dependent not just on the players skill, but the choices they make and a healthy helping of luck. Luck actually plays a substantial part in being able to make your way through the encounters. Rooms are segmented into blocks, some of which are treasure rooms, or map reveal rooms, while the vast majority are filled with an unknown number of enemies. As the wielder of the Hypergun, blasting through enemies and finding weapon attachments will reward you with a stronger and ever evolving weapons.
Where luck factors in is simply in the attachments you get. Some attachments, such as the “Cold Front” can shoot frozen missiles, not only damaging enemies for a severe amount, but freezing them upon subsequent hits. Finding this weapon early on, or at all, can swiftly change encounters to be more in your favor. As you continue to make your way through each level, you will also receive hyper coins, which can be used to buy weapon attachments or new characters outside of the simulation, or you’ll earn bits, which are necessary so that you can purchase much needed consumables inside the simulation. Everything, unfortunately, is luck based. The number of bits you obtain, the weapon attachments you find and even what is sold in the simulation shop will be completely random.
Gameplay is fairly common with most first-person shooters. As you upgrade your weapon, there will be positive aspects and negative ones that apply, such as attachments that will increase accuracy but decrease your fire rate. Other attachments will increase critical damage, but decrease movement speed. Often times I found I would pick up several attachments that would eventually balance out my weapon in one stat or another. Level design, while random, can be tricky as you progress through the levels. Some maps will have traps, while others will block your way with shrubbery or pits of lava. I found it best to strafe around the entire room, granted that the room was laid out well enough, and hit enemies as I move. Staying still in Hypergun is most certainly a death sentence.
At first, this was exceptionally frustrating for me as a player. Even after obtaining enough hyper coins to purchase a weapon attachment out of the simulation, all that ended up doing was unlocking the potential for that item to drop during the simulation. In that way the complete randomness of it all, with no hope to get the attachments I truly wanted, was confusing. After several defeats in the simulator, I began to realize that what Hypergun achieves through this roguelike approach, is they facilitate a complete disregard for players to be accountable for what befalls them. As I watched in horror during the first encounter of a fresh simulation, two large aliens with shields appeared and proceeded to bum rush me in a very poorly laid out room, it dawned on me after defeating them that the elation I felt was due to overcoming such painstaking obstacles.
Hypergun has created nothing less than the ultimate pick up and play FPS, where every game is a potential challenge. In addition to Dewey Owens, players can eventually unlock and upgrade three alternate classes, each with a different base hypergun which will completely change the way you play as you battle through the levels in hopes to save the world. While I do feel that there could be so much more to Hypergun, such as multiplayer, or a single slot attachment to start a game with, sometimes it’s alright to have a game that’s simplistic in what it delivers, and what Hypergun delivers is random, violent and satisfying.