Disclosure ‐ A copy of HYPERGUN was provided by NVYVE Studios for the purpose of this review.
Close, but no cigar.
The following review was written after 6-hours of game time. For valid reasons mentioned in the review, I couldn’t bring myself to attempt to complete it.
Look, I like Rogue-Lites (likes, lites, whatever you want to call them), in fact I’d go as far as saying that I LOVE a good Rogue-lite. Between the releases of Dead Cells and Wizard of Legend this past year, I’ve been amazed at how addicting they are; these games have a mystical pull that just whispers in my ear “one more run David, just one more”. Though, HYPERGUN does NOT have that seductive calling, even though I desperately wanted it to. Maybe I’m just ignorant, but I can’t spring to mind a first-person shooter Rogue-lite, so I thought the table was set for a blow out success if NVYVE Studios could pull it off. Unfortunately, between the half-baked enemy designs, lackluster gameplay feel, and general repetitive design, I can’t bring myself to play it any more than I already have.
Now, you may take aim at my final point that HYPERGUN is repetitive, after all, aren’t Rogue-lites meant to have you beating the same levels over and over? You are correct, this design choice is at the core of all Rogue-lites I’ve ever played. However, the difference between a good Rogue-lite, and HYPERGUN is the variety that emerges from a constantly changing arsenal, and the new tactics these upgrades evoke. HYPERGUN’S premise is sound, a first-person Rogue-lite in which the focus isn’t about upgrading your character, but rather your weapon itself. Theoretically, each run should bring new wacky attachments to experiment with, creeping you ever closer to attaining permanent upgrades that spring you through the later levels. This was the initial promise of HYPERGUN, and one that it has failed to deliver.
HYPERGUN consists of five levels, each containing a unique boss fight. At the time of writing this review, I’ve only made it through two. With this revelation out of the way, you may think I’m too inexperienced to form a final, well-rounded opinion, but the fact that I can’t bring myself to play any more is the very reason I need to write this review.
Make no mistake, there’s nothing outwardly wrong with the game, in fact, short of some glitchy enemy movements, the bright art-style and synthonic soundtrack go a long way in masking the title’s flaws. I even love the gallery implementation, where you can see all the attachments and enemies you’ve encountered in little baubles. But none of this counts for diddly-squat if the core of the game: its gunplay, doesn’t feel fun.
It’s simple really, you have a gun which possesses a primary and secondary fire. There is no reload, but secondary abilities have cooldowns, and when your shooting ‘charge’ runs low, bullets will spit out very slowly. Even at full power, bullets spurt out like wet noodles, and there’s virtually no satisfying feedback from shooting. Enemies don’t react either, just glow red until they die, and there’s virtually no ‘kick’ in the gun, just decreased accuracy (wider spread). You’d think that as soon as you pick up some attachments your gun would be pumping with gas – this is not the case.
After getting to the end of level two, I had MANY attachments, and my gun still felt the same as it did when I spawned in the first zone. Stats like + this, – this, are little more than numbers and arbitrary stat weights than meaningful changes to your gun. Not even the secondary fires that I’ve experienced so far have had any real weight to them. In our ‘First Try!’ video, Cotter brought up a parallel to Borderlands that some internet-folk have alluded to, but this comparison is SO FAR off-base. Granted, I don’t really like Borderlands, and a lot of the guns are reskinned, but at least there are multiple types of weapons ON TOP of the goofy shit thrown in.
There may be some variation that comes into play later when you unlock additional characters, but if it’s a Rogue-lite, and you haven’t found that diversity in the first 6-hours, what’s the point in continuing?
Beyond the core gunplay’s issues, enemy variety leaves A LOT to be desired. I’ve already seen over half the amount of enemies in the game within the first two levels! There’s only 7 left to see, and presumably, a bunch of those are the other bosses.
Of the enemies that I have encountered, each is as archetypal as you could get. There’s the sword dude that charges at you, the floating spheres, a teleporting wizard, a big charging shield dude, a sniper with a shield, and globs that break up when you shoot them. Why one of the first enemies you meet is a stationary sniper that places a shield to cover the front of his entire body is an absolute mystery to me. If you think shooting the gun is boring, wait till you have to shoot unresponsive enemies behind a tanky shield.
The environments themselves may be flamboyant, but they don’t keep the gameplay from becoming any less stale. There are the obvious explosive barrels, as well as shield boxes that you can shoot to provide yourself with a barrier that’s rendered useless by the game’s reliance on constant movement.
Lastly, none of the currency pickups have seemed to make a dent in my gameplay experience thus far. I’ve purchased some attachments, but even then they’re not permanent upgrades, they’re just thrown into the item rotation. This is a common Rogue-lite trait, but when combined with the mind-numbing experience of actually playing the game – it becomes a negative. There aren’t any stats to increase the currency drop rate in levels, and the chance regardless is tremendously low.
I really wanted to like this game. On paper, it seems designed for me, but in reality, it’s just plain boring. In my last session, my index finger was actually sore from holding down the shooting button for so long. That isn’t fun, and in an attempt to provide an interesting Rogue-lite experience, HYPERGUN has released as a painfully repetitive (but mechanically sound) first-person-shooter.