Enter the simulation. Build the HYPERGUN! *hacker voice* I’m in.
Genre: FPS, Arena Shooter
Developer: NVYVE® Studios
Publisher: NVYVE® Studios
Release date: 23 Aug, 2018
The game has had some drastic changes since this review was posted, be warned that some things have changed, and has not been added/edited into this review! ~Aythadis (April 18, 2019)
Get Jacked In.
HYPERGUN is a fast-paced roguelite first person shooter where the main objective of the game is to create the HYPERGUN. With humanity on the brink of losing the war with the invading Aliens, the world depends on DevTech Labs with their HYPERGUN program to create the ultimate weapon to defeat them. Playing as Dewey Owens, you must master the ultimate combat simulator, fight through the waves of alien interlopers, and build up the HYPERGUN of questionable effectiveness. Can the world be saved in time, or will humanity die? Enter the simulation and find out!
Let me state, I’ve been raised on FPS games my entire life. FPS games are my bread and butter, and some of my all time favorite games are roguelite shooters such as Ziggurat, Tower of Guns, Immortal Redneck, and STRAFE. The moment I saw this game and played the preview demo, the game had sunk it’s neon claws in me. I just HAD to play this game! Thankfully we didn’t have to wait much longer and the full game is out! The real question is, does HYPERGUN have what it takes to stand with the best? Let’s find out!
The year is 2038, and a highly advanced alien race has occupied planet Earth. Humanity is at its breaking point, and the fate of the human race now depends on the top-secret HYPERGUN program: a highly advanced simulation that is designed to create the ultimate weapon to combat the alien oppressors by combining weapon components across countless simulations. You play as the intern, Dewey Owens, who was allowed to sneak into the facility over the weekend. Your goal is to try and finish the simulation in time to create the HYPERGUN. When you start the game you enter the labs. Here, you are free to explore the area at your leisure. You’ll can look at laptops and tablets to discover gameworld lore, check out the galleries of the aliens that you have encountered, and look over the mass collection of weapon parts and mods you have discovered though your plays. The Meta Shop lets you unlock more weapon parts as well as your stats for your runs through the simulation. The Labs acts as the Hub that let’s you select your class and change the skills for the classes, but this requires Hypercoins to unlock this stuff, which I’ll explain in a few.
Build the HYPERGUN!
The main goal of the game is to build the HYPERGUN, and to do that plays must clear through the simulation. It sounds easy enough, right? Well it all depends on your skill and your luck in getting weapon mods and attachments. With six procedural generated levels, you will go room to room to fight waves of simulated alien invaders, all the way to the boss of each level to advance. As you kill the aliens, there is a chance for them to drop items, such as bits (money to purchase items in the simulation stores), item refills, health, shield, keys, Hypercoins, or even weapon mods! Each map will always have a shop, and a reveal map room, though where to find them will always be random, and items in the store will also be random. There may even be rooms with a chest of different quality, though most chests will require a key to unlock the goodies in them. The most prized item you will want are the Hypercoins, as they are used to unlock classes, skills for the classes, and new weapon mods in the Meta Store. Collect as many weapon mods as you can, then enter the boss room and try to take them down to advance. It will be no easy task if you don’t have good weapon mods, but with pure skill you can take down everything.
There are four different classes that you can play as, though only one class is available at the start and the others require 50 Hypercoins each. Every class has their own unique weapon style and their own special set of skills, from active abilities to passive, and each skill requires 20 Hypercoins to unlock. This is where most of the grind to the game is, collecting enough Hypercoins to unlock everything. You get the most coins by getting further into the game, as bosses will always guarantee at least five Hyper coins. On a complete run you will acquire around 40+ Hypercoins, but this also depends on how lucky you are with those drops and how many special crates spawn on the maps as these could drop a Hypercoin.
Each of the six levels will have their own aesthetic but function the same, with some minor changes and decorative obstacles and traps. Most of the rooms are big and open enough to allow you to run around enemies to get some distance if needed. The levels are randomly put together from pre-made rooms that connect to one another to form a slight maze, each with a shop and map room, as well as chest rooms and challenge rooms appearing once in awhile. The further you get, the more traps and level hazards you will face, though it is extremely limited in terms of variety. There is also the ability to teleport back to rooms you’ve cleared via the map, just like how it worked in the game Enter The Gungeon.
Now keep in mind the screenshots I took is the game running at low quality settings, as I am running an old budget computer, but I was able to run the game at the highest settings. The only issue with that though was then the game ran at 10FPS for me, which is not something you want when playing a twitch shooter. Even setting it to the lowest settings, the game still looked really nice and ran at a nice 50-60FPS for me. This was honestly my biggest worry as I wasn’t sure my old PC was going to be able to handle it (and is why I tend to avoid newer games), but thankfully it ran it just fine and I was able to complete runs and have a blast playing! There are a wide range of options to change as well, even down to the graphical looks! The only annoying part is you have to be in game before you can access the options.
Let me take a second to talk about the amazing soundtrack! Each song really gets you pumped up and gets more intense the further you go. Hit a challenge room or the boss fight and the music kicks it up a notch. Thankfully the devs said we will be able to purchase the soundtrack soon! In terms of the audio, each enemy has their own unique sounds, so you can easily know what is around you without even looking. The only real negative thing I can say about the audio is the Overseer boss, when you directly hurt it it gives an ear stabbing mechanical screech.
So, the main point of the game is the HYPERGUN. When you first start you will have the first class unlocked (The Intern) which has the SMG. The other three classes you unlock are the Security with a burst fire assault rifle, the Lawyer with a shotgun, and the HR with a sniper rifle. With each weapon you will have to play slightly different. The SMG is a great beginner weapon as it’s simple to use by just pointing at something and shooting. The shotgun obviously requires to get a little closer to deal the most damage and it will consume more ammo. The sniper requires you to keep your distance away from enemies and aim with better accuracy, lining up that shot as they pierce through enemies, and it consumes the most ammo per shot. Each class also has their own stats, with the Intern being the most rounded, Security with more defense but slower, Lawyer needing more close range damage, and HR having more speed and damage but less health. Combining this with their own unique skills can provide slightly different play styles.
How the ammo works in the game is you have two types of ammo; your primary ammo (blue bar in the left side of the cross-hair) and your secondary ammo (yellow bar on the right side of the cross-hair). When you shoot it will deplete a certain amount, and when not shooting these will recharge. You will never have to worry about running out of ammo for your gun. All you have to worry about is not depleting the bar and having to wait to recharge enough to shoot again. This makes it so you can just keep holding down the trigger and have to strategize a little bit, much like how Ziggurat did with it’s primary ammo pool. With more upgrades, though, you can start to deplete it faster and faster. Depending on the class, you could end up only being able to shoot once or twice and have to wait. Now with your secondary attacks, you can carry up to five different modes, each with their own unique attack, ammo usage, and a cool-down.
An interesting thing is when you get a new weapon mod, your weapon will change shape to reflect the pickups. There are currently 160 different weapon mods (and I’ve currently only unlocked/found 96) that will change your weapon stats and your own stats. These can range from a simple damage, accuracy, or fire-rate increase, to adding elemental effects, to new secondary attacks. You can even increase your stats like movement speed, jump height, to health. After a few upgrades your weapon can truly start looking unique, and often quite silly (Party hats, 3D Glasses, Pot of Gold, tiny guns, Tide Pods!) Not only does it change the look, but even the sound of the gun firing, and the look of the projectiles! And yes there is the option to see how your gun looks!
The Simulated Alien Invaders
There are a total of 17 Alien enemies you will encounter, 11 common enemies and six bosses. For the most part each alien is unique and provides their own form of challenge, but I will agree that only 11 enemies is a fairly low number, and most are pretty simple to fight. They don’t even really interact with each other or compliment each other. The only unit that really helps is the shield drone, otherwise each enemy is just kind of chasing you. None of them would even fight each other if they were to hit one another, except for the blob where if you can get it to trigger it’s poison cloud it will cause the enemies to attack it till it’s dead, otherwise there is no form of in-fighting. The AI is simple and can be really stupid, like getting stuck on walls or just not moving. The flying enemies tend to get stuck on walls and corners more than others. The further you go, the more health the harder enemies have. If you don’t get any good upgrades the enemies can really start to feel like bullet sponges, ESPECIALLY the bosses! At the end of each level there will be a boss, and it will always be the same boss. Each boss has their own special room, with special abilities and patterns you will learn. Each one provides an interesting fight and will test your skills if you wish to beat them, ESPECIALLY the SCOURGE! Slight spoiler, but he’s the hardest mother fucker in the game. He is the only boss I struggle with as he is the only one that doesn’t have “stages” and has blasting full force from the very start.
However, the game does suffer from problems, all of which I’ve addressed the devs about and were happy to hear about it. What is quite the biggest issue with the game is the burnout (at least for me.) Having been able to clear it on my first and second runs, the game really started to feel the same. Even when playing as a different class, the weapons ended up feeling the same. All the weapon upgrades even start to make each weapon feel the same, though it all comes down to the RNG of getting weapon mods and items. There are no “unique” class based mods or upgrades that would drastically change how the weapons feel, like how STRAFE did it’s weapon upgrades. It also starts to bug me when my shotgun ends up looking like an assault rifle instead of a badass shotgun with quad barrels. The other part of it burning out is how the game essentially plays the same every run. There are not really any big changes, no way to make the game harder or interesting. Again I had voiced my opinion about it the devs and said they would look into it. They had already said they were working on an “Endless” mode. I feel they need to add in a “Mutator” option to active special events from silly things to real game changes. Stuff from like big head mode, to rockets only!
I also feel that there needs to be more variety in the enemies. You would think as you get further there would be slight changes and tweaks in enemies to make them even harder and look a little different, but they stay the same throughout the entire game. Some enemies don’t even have a melee attack, so you can rub up against them and not have to worry! The only time you have a real problem with the enemies is either getting mobbed, or you get stuck on an wall. With the simple AI though it’s not too hard.
Of course being a Roguelite it is on par for the RNG to totally suck. I would have good runs up to the third level, then the game just refuses to give any health packs for drops or even in the store, so I’d have to run through the rest of the game with little to no health only to be destroyed by a boss. I’ve even had the same weapon attachments multiple times on the same run. Most of the time that doesn’t matter as the stats will stack, but if it’s a secondary fire, you can only hold one of it. I’ve had the same secondary mod drop 4 times in a row in the first few levels! Again it all comes down to RNG. Most of the time the weapon pickup are just a crate and you have no idea what you will be getting. Once you have discovered that weapon mod though, there will be chances where you will be able to actually see what weapon mod it is and debate if you want it or not. It’s helpful if you ended up getting an upgrade that you hated and stumble upon it again, at least until you get it from a weapon crate.
My last big complaint about the game is lack of level variety and creativity. Even just after two playthroughs you will start finding the same rooms. They all play the same, and nothing in those rooms really changes other than the cover that you can activate by shooting them. There are really only two type of traps in the entire game, the flamethrower traps and lava/plasma pits. I feel there needs to be more traps and trap rooms. I’ll reference Ziggurat, where it had treasure rooms that required you to traverse a deadly trap room to get to the chest. That had traps that ranged from swinging axes, to fireballs shooting out of the walls, to even spikes that would spring from the floor. HYPERGUN has none of that and the lack of variety leads to the burnout, as it’s just strictly shooting and killing. I feel it needs these extra rooms to break it up and give the player more incentive to try these kind of rooms to help get more upgrades. More crushers! More parkour areas! There also does not appear to be any form of secrets, as least that I’ve been able to find. Games like this need to have some form of “secret rooms” that hold secret powerups or a secret chest for items. This again would make the player look around the maps and explore more, and make the player feel more rewarded for finding one.
Is the game perfect? Well no, it can start to feel repetitive, especially when everything starts to feel the same, but is it fun? Well 20 hours in and I had a blast! It’s a simple game, but simple fun to just kill things and hope you get some awesome weapons. With the devs already working on post launch content and updates, the game can only get better and better, which is why I don’t plan on deleting the game any time soon. I will end up coming back with each update and work towards that nice 100% completion. With enough updates this game could easily be worth every penny! As of right now some people might not find it as enjoyable as myself. When in doubt, get it on sale or wait for more updates! Hopefully they knock it out of the park, and get lucky enough to be able to print a physical copy for consoles, so I can add this to my collection!