Hypergun PC Review

Nothing hyper about this gun.

By Woozie, Posted 23 Aug 2018

Spheros is, unsurprisingly, a giant sphere that guards the passage to Hypergun’s second level. Chipping away its armor while circling around it, dodging fireballs and lava beams, reveals a vulnerable core.  Shoot it enough, and it falls into the lava pit below, granting shiny loot. Although a boss, Spheros is indicative of Hypergun’s simplicity and tendency to repeat itself a bit too much. You begin Hypergun as Dewey Owens, an intern at Devtech Labs, running combat simulations with the purpose of preparing for an alien invasion. The company’s offices act as a hub area from where you purchase items, walk through gallery rooms, review stats and read through your colleagues’ sometimes humorous e-mails. While you’re free to roam around, the meat of this rogue-lite lies in its repeatable simulations.

You always start with a factory-made gun and one usually underwhelming attachment, after which you go through procedurally generated levels, blasting away at foes in hopes of having them drop coins, attachments or other pickups. Entering one of Hypergun’s rooms leads to minutes or running, jumping and gunning under the glow of neons and with pretty rad synthwave tracks playing in the background. Common sights include explosive barrels, ramps and green squares that deploy shields when shot. The size of these levels varies quite wildly. Some can be quite large, while others make getting around them rather difficult and, in the worst cases, place ramps in such a way that makes getting ambushed by enemies from behind fairly easily.

Hypergun, PC, Review

Curiosity fuels the first few runs. Get to the second level mages that teleport and cast death circles under you will join the first level’s assortment of foes. As you pick up attachments, your gun’s body can turn into an espresso machine with a wooden stock literally nailed to it, a corn cob at the end of its barrel and a classy mini-chandelier hanging from it. In another run, your gun’s body dons a slick, futuristic look while having a megaphone attached to its end and the ability to somehow shoot purple beavers. As you repeat runs, you’ll begin to notice how levels come in the same order and rooms look and feel alike, making use of very similar assets and only changing up the color of their glow, regardless of how far in you are. There are only a handful of enemies which have a limited set of attacks on their own and, quite often tend to be bullet sponges. By far the most disappointing thing, however, is how attachments change very little about how Hypergun plays.

They come in two varieties: those that grant passive bonuses and those that grant active abilities, like the aforementioned purple exploding beavers. The former are more noticeable when they reduce damage while increasing some other stat, since that tends to make an already underwhelming gun weaker, prolonging room encounters that already drag on. Aside from that, regardless if it’s a corn cob, a suppressor or a soda can at the end, you’ll always fire the same type of projectiles. The active abilities are mostly area of effect attacks that deal a heftier amount of damage. Getting one of these at the beginning of the round can be a godsend. As you go through them, it becomes clear that whether they’re rockets, railguns or cheeky zeppelins flying towards targets while shooting a tiny gun, they serve the exact same tactical purpose: that of providing the same bigger boom that dispatches foes slightly more effectively.

Hypergun, PC, Review, Screenshot

Naturally, foes come in packs and you’re often dealing with more types at once. Charging hulks with shields on their hands downed only by shots to the legs or back, snipers that deploy shields which break from sustained fire or are circumvented by strafing around them; then there are flying gunships, blobs that multiply as you kill them and drones that shield other enemies, potentially making you hate your life. Each room has two “waves”, the second spawning when the first one is nearly wiped out. Some enemy combinations are particularly frustrating to face, especially when tanky enemies are backed up by shield drones and your gun’s accuracy or damage is lacking; the ones that aren’t become dull after you encounter them a couple of times. This, arguably, permeates all of Hypergun’s aspects, with subsequent runs becoming uninteresting the more you play.

There’s lots of strafing involved and, chances are when you’re doing it you also want to focus on dealing damage to what you’re facing. Normally, in situations where you can’t look behind every other second, you’d rely on sound to warn you when danger is near. Hypergun’s sound design unfortunately doesn’t do a good job of informing you when danger lurks behind. In many cases, I ended up taking damage while backpedalling because stray, often freshly spawned, enemies surprised me from behind. It’s even worse with fire traps on the ground, which you only know you’re running over once health numbers being to drop. This is not where the issues end, either. Most of the game’s sound assets, bar the soundtrack, are of woefully low quality. Shots and explosions have no real feeling of impact, no matter how hard the game tries to emulate the Modern Warfare hit sound while pushing it ahead of everything else in the mix. You’d also expect that as attachments rack on, the weapon feels more and more powerful. During my time with the game I had one single run where enemies were literally melting in front of me and in spite of that, the gun in my hands still felt like it shot pebbles.

Hypergun, PC, Review, Screenshot

It’s not in a rogue-lite’s nature to always provide fair, well balanced runs, but the discrepancies between them in Hypergun are far too big. The run I mentioned earlier, where I was a god of death, happened after I picked up one particular attachment I had bought from the store in the office. I couldn’t come close to a similar experience with any other combination of attachments, even if I had piles upon piles of them, with different bonuses and penalties, attached. The high of that one run only further emphasized how much of Hypergun isn’t all that great. Combat, even with 20 attachments strapped onto the gun, severely lacks punch and revolves around the same two or three tedious actions. You strafe and jump while pressing the fire button, with occasional moments of popping an ability or funneling foes down a ramp. But more so, it shows how with one exception, which might have even been a balance overlook, I was never really close to getting a “hyper” gun. Fights regularly dragged on while providing little to nothing that’s actually satisfying. You very rarely feel like you’re gaining significant power. There’s not much to learn when it comes to Hypergun’s mobs, just like there’s no option to save progress during a run. The permanent progression, while meaty enough, only acts as a support to gameplay that’s not all that varied, despite the tons of attachments one can find. If you’re lucky to see Hypergun at its alien-melting peak, chances are you won’t want to return to the humble one-attachment beginning every run inevitably starts with.

Hypergun’s economy has two sides to it. Both its currencies drop from foes but, while bits can only be used during a run, Hypercoins unlock new attachments which then have a chance to drop in levels, classes and abilities at the store in the hub area. Four classes make up the roster each with their own theoretical flavor that doesn’t translate too well in the actual levels. Dewey wields a submachine gun and can, initially, throw hot coffee that (barely) damages foes overtime and circumvent the energy requirement when firing his gun for a few seconds. You can then unlock stuff like a phone that acts as a cluster grenade, or a chance to completely ignore damage every once in a while. When trying out both the security guard and HR classes, with their burst rifle and sniper rifles, although I was faced with higher accuracy and damage, the downtime in waiting for energy to build back up made runs unbearably slow. Although unlocking all these would be interesting in theory, the fact of the matter is that they don’t do much in the way of significantly altering gameplay that’s either thoroughly unimaginative or simply tiring; just like Hypergun’s neon aesthetic after you’ve seen its levels more than a couple of times.

Hypergun, PC, Review, Screenshot

Despite being a first-person shooter and having the potential to overcome the combat troubles rogue-lites can have, Hypergun fails to do so. Past the first few runs, you’ll see the same few enemy types, run around rooms that feel identical and be outright amazed at how underwhelming your weapon feels, regardless if you’ve one or a dozen things attached to it. Hypergun lacks any sense of excitement, killing all potential curiosity in engaging with its economy and unlocking further classes or attachments through its drab gameplay. Despite its speed, rooms take too long to clear and its sound design doesn’t help with knowing when foes sneak up on you from behind. Rare moments of intensity, mainly when dealing with bosses for the first few times, manage to make it a passable experience best approached in short bursts, but even so, there’s nothing particularly hyper about this gun.

Bogdan Robert, NoobFeed
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General Information

Hypergun

50/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): NVYVE® Studios
Developer(s): NVYVE® Studios
Genres: First-Person Shooter, Rogue-lite
Themes: Sci-fi
Release Date: 2018-08-23

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