Hypergun is not just a really cool name for some kind of space laser, but it’s also a First-Person-Shooter-Rogue-Like or a FPSRL for short. And it’s fucking great, but also brutally hard which is exactly what you want in a roguelike title.
Starting up Hypergun for the first time I immediately noticed the soundtrack. Having listened to an overwhelming amount of Synthwave and Glitch-hop recently thanks to the Cyberpunk 2077 48-minute gameplay demo, I felt right at home. The soundtrack kicks ass from the first moment to the last. With its heady baseline and synth/electro tones it’s easy to lose yourself in the music while dodging fire and blasting bad guys! I found myself reflexively tapping my feet to the beat and synchronizing my movements with it too, helping you time those critical last minute dodges!
Roguelikes exist in a special confluence of luck and skill where the best players can do amazing things with very little and the worst players can do just as well with some incredibly lucky dice rolls. Lucky players can get further than some skillful players simply due to the items and advantages they receive, but it’s not all luck, even though it can help or hinder in some big ways.
When starting out, a few good lucky runs can really make the game that little bit more accessible, offering you that hand back up after the game brutally slaps you down for the 8th time in a row. RNG-esus can either bless you or curse you and it’ll make or break a run! Getting to the first boss without any secondary weapons can make it a painfully drawn out encounter but sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles!
When exploring the hub zone you’re able to view the weapon gallery, which contains all of the different parts available for the Hypergun that augment its abilities as well as your own. Stepping into the gallery can be a little overwhelming from the sheer number of different parts available, but that’s all part of the fun! That’s exactly what a good roguelike needs, is shit tonnes of collectible items that enhance your skills and abilities in some way. Hypergun boasts an impressive array of such equipment and if you’re anything like me, you’ll go mad trying to acquire each and every one of them to fill your armory!
Sadly it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Hypergun is great fun to play, the gameplay is smooth, responsive and solid, but it has its minor flaws. The shielded Sniper enemies are a base unit and they can be quite annoying to put down. Breaking through their shields seems to be a bit temperamental and inconsistent. Digging deep and swallowing the fear of being hit gives you a few moments to line up some precious headshots which removes them far swifter, but it feels as though they should be a rarer special unit to reduce the overall frustration.
The other flaw I noticed is the tendency for enemies to glitch out and fly all over the place when defeated. It has no impact on the gameplay at all and it’s barely worth mentioning, in fact, it’s pretty funny watching the character model fly apart as it dematerializes.
For those interested, Hypergun has some pretty well-written story elements scattered around the hub zone. You’re tasked with researching the ultimate weapon to save humanity from impending doom by running simulation after simulation. These story elements seem to only appear in the form of text on devices littering the hub area and can be completely ignored by the player if they so desire.
Let’s be honest if you’re playing Hypergun, which I highly recommend you do, you’re not playing it for a deep and complex storyline. You’re playing it for the challenge of surviving room after room of increasing difficulty and collecting every possible drop like a kleptomaniac in a thrift store, you know they have no real value you but need them.
Hypergun is the kind of rogue-like that is easy to pick up and play but manages to keep you on your toes, ducking, weaving and doing everything in your power to stay alive. It’s challenging but not so difficult you feel like crying out of frustration. It’s polished enough to show a lot of thought went into making it work and makes it clear that your mistakes are your own and not some fault of shitty game design.
However, it’s forgiving enough that you want to keep playing, you never throw down the controller and call bullshit. That’s right, I used a controller, come at me. Hypergun is a lot of fun and well designed with a killer soundtrack that you can’t help but get lost in.
My one major gripe with the game comes in the form of health pick-ups. Healing items seem to be few and far between. Sure that’s kind of the point but it feels like there could be just a couple more ways to regain health, maybe I just suck but it felt like I spent forever knocking on death’s door and could go a whole level without finding a single healing item. Then would be forced to part with my hard earned bits in order to buy a small or medium health pack. Okay, I definitely suck but I feel it’s a valid point! Rogue-like titles often suffer from this and so it’s not a big concern.
All in all, Hypergun is definitely worth picking up and giving a go. It’s great for burning an extra hour or two when you’d otherwise be bored. Not being designed for long 4hr gaming sessions is the Rogue-like’s life and so it’s easy to blitz a few runs, but if you really wanted to then you could easily spend three or four hours blasting Sims and collecting attachments like some deranged magpie. Hypergun scratches the same itch all Rogue-like games do and somehow manages to always bring you back for more. It’s a little like crack.