In many ways, video games have come a long way in the past few decades. While at one time they only existed in the crowded walls of arcades, they’ve emerged first in our homes and now in the palms of our hands. Their design has changed as well. Back in the days of coin-op machines, games were designed to entertain and hook you, but ultimately to take your quarters. Many of the most popular games like Donkey Kong or Pac-Man had no definable end. The game would keep looping, and sooner or later the rise in difficulty would slip you up or else fatigue would eventually take hold. It’s a design choice that is nowhere near as prevalent in this day of instant, or at least quick, gratification. Many gamers want to be rewarded with a conclusion. Developers want gamers to finish a game and move on to buying something else. Every once in awhile, however, a new game emerges that sweeps us back to the old traditions. Hypership Out Of Control from Fun Infused Games is one such title where there’s no way to win, but you’ll have a hell of a fun ride while you’re alive.
Like many old-school space shooters, the objective here is to stay alive as long as possible by manuevering around obstacles and destroying incoming enemies. The hook with Hypership is that the longer you’re alive the more speed you build up. Gradually those solid walls you were able to easily avoid will become that much harder to miss. Enemies and destructible walls that you had plenty of time to blast to smithereens are now objects that it might be easier to avoid rather than destroying to score the points. One of the most addictive components of the game is the exhiliration that comes with successfully making it to that next wave when you’re zooming along at maximum speed. Should you make it through all ten waves, you’ll restart at the beginning but with your top speed bumped up to make it that much more difficult.
If there’s any one element of the game that deserves close scrutiny it’s definitely the controls. Since it’s an iOS game you’ll be using the touch screen to move your ship around. Both the iPhone and iPad have their unique advantages and disadvantages over the other. While the iPad will give you a more spaced-out view of the game than the iPhone, it also means that you’ll be having to cover more real estate when moving the ship around. This can be a challenge for a game where movement is frenetic and reaction times paramount. However it’s not detrimental to the game and is only worth mentioning because its one of the few potentially negative critiques. One of the nice design choices is that you don’t actually have to have your finger on the ship to move it. You can touch anywhere on the screen and the ship will react to your swipes. One of the problems with touch screen games is that your fingers or hands can obscure your view, but this inclusion by and large negates that issue. There’s a bit of a learning curve here in figuring out what works best for you.
Adding to the replayability of the game are a few additional modes that change up some of the mechanics or rules. While most are a variation on the speed settings, my favorite was actually the Coin Down mode. Instead of having a set number of lives, you start with a set number of coins. As time passes, the coin meter counts down. Hitting zero will result in the game ending so it’s up to you to pick up coins as you’re flying to keep the counter up. The real twist here is that in order to keep pace with the meter you’ll need to keep your speed up, whereas in Normal mode you’ll survive a lot longer by slowing down. Die or slow down in Coin Down and you won’t be able to pick up coins fast enough to survive.
One of the biggest draws to arcade machines was competing for the right to have your initials up at the top of the score leaderboard for everyone to see. Thanks to the inclusion of Game Center, Hypership hasn’t lost any of that old-school appeal. With it, you can have your scores automatically posted to the global leaderboard. Each of the game modes has its own standings, and these can be further broken down by current day, weekly, or all-time listings. I find that few things fuel a competitive fire better than seeing someone else’s score ranked higher, and I believe that will keep players coming back to this game for awhile. The game has an achievements system for accomplishing various feats. The achievements are also tracked through Game Center.
Hypership Out Of Control is one of those games that you just instantly get. It’s a game that is simple and universally understood in its nature to appeal to a wide audience, but with some advanced techniques to stimulate the seasoned gamer. It also hearkens back to an earlier age in gaming so for some it’ll have a certain nostalgic factor. Any way you look at it though, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason not to get the game. Although this review was for the iOS version, the game is also available on Xbox Live Indie Games and Windows Phone 7. Your biggest question shouldn’t be whether to buy it, but what platform to buy it on. The XBLIG version includes local multiplayer, but you can’t take that version with you on the go. The game’s only a dollar though so maybe you don’t have to choose at all.
© 2011 – 2013, The Indie Mine. All rights reserved.