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Game Info:

HYPERGUN
Developed By: NVYVE® Studios
Published By: NVYVE® Studios
Released: August 23, 2018 (Steam), Autumn 2018 (Consoles)
Available On: PS4, Windows, Xbox One
Genre: First-Person Shooter, Rouge-lite
ESRB Rating: Not Rated (yet)
Number of Players: 1
Price: $14.99

Thank you NVYVE® Studios for sending us this game to review.

What would you do if your job gave the business you worked for the task of saving the world? Personally, I would silently resign as that is too much pressure on my shoulders. ‘HYPERGUN’ plays around that situation where you play as an intern named Dewey Owens working for Devtech Labs. Your assignment is to go into the simulation and test out various components to create the titular HYPERGUN: a weapon that will theoretically save humanity from the upcoming alien invasion.

‘HYPERGUN’ is a mixture of an FPS and a rogue-lite, and starts out with the character exiting an elevator, where you are free to explore the office. The office acts as a hub where you can view the various enemies, see what attachments you have collected over the simulations, buy more attachments with hyper coins (which I will go into later), and see the statistics. The statistics detail how many runs were attempted or completed, various combat statistics with each of the classes, and the top 5 HYPERGUNS in rating of DPS. The office also contains various logs, and sticky notes that delve into the office life, the monumental task they were assigned as well as what the employees think about Dewey. I feel it is a very nice and stylized menu that gives off a nice amount of pizzazz, and breathes life into the world.

The main room is the Simulation Chamber, where you choose one of the four classes with various passive and active abilities to go into the simulation and tackle six levels, with randomly generated arenas to fight in that will eventually lead to the boss of the level. You start off with Dewey Owens, who wields a sub-machine gun and abilities revolve around movement and suppressing fire. The other characters have to be unlocked, which include Dirk Smith the security guard, Gilligan Gold the company’s lawyer, and Sue Sharp the human resources manager. Each class have their own unique HYPERGUN, as well as different amounts of health, speed, and shield capacity. Each of their abilities are also based upon their occupation, which did get a good laugh out of me, such as Dewey throwing hot coffee at the enemies and generally being a nervous wreck, or Dirk being able to use surveillance cameras to see enemies through walls.

HYPERGUN
Highlights:

Strong Points: Nice aesthetics; solid level design; good humor.
Weak Points: Large difficulty spike against the fourth boss; game is blatantly balanced around Dewey; very grindy compared to other rouge-lites. 
Moral Warnings: Mild language like ‘d*mn’ and ‘hell’ contained in the logbooks; fantasy violence against alien lifeforms.

As you start the simulation, each room (with the exception of the one you start in which is always a small hallway), is randomly generated. The only other rooms that will always appear in a level are the map room, the store, and the boss room. There are other rooms like the treasure room which sometimes requires a key and challenge rooms that are optional, but always yield four rewards of some kind if completed. Loot, if dropped, is also randomly generated. The loot can vary from health and shield pickups, bits, which act as the in-game currency for the levels, hyper coins, which are the currency for unlocking classes and attachments, secondary weapons, and the attachments for your weapon that can give off various effects such as increased fire rate, bullet velocity, speed, jump height, and even health. Some attachments can also decrease these values too so be informed of which weapon you pick up. Almost all of the attachments alter the appearance of the gun so in the end, you end up with this Frankenstein Monster of a weapon. Every arena that is cleared also has a warp point that you can access from the map menu. It’s a very convenient mechanic that future rouge-lites should take note of.

Hyper coins are another type of currency used in the office hub that allows you to unlock classes, alternate abilities/perks of the classes, as well as more attachments to collect through the simulation. It is a fairly unique (at least compared to the rouge-lites that I have played) concept, as many rouge-lites have additional drops or items obtained from completing certain tasks such as beating the game or finding a secret room. This concept does allow anyone of any skill level to eventually unlock everything, but it also makes the game feel grindy as the amount of hyper coins per play-through can vary greatly. To me, it feels like a lame way to artificially lengthen the game, especially when each class is worth 50 coins, eight unlockable abilities that cost 20 coins each, and over 50 unlockable attachments that can range from 5 to 20 coins.

I really dig the level design of the arenas as they all give you various amounts of freedom to move around in them, as well as the futuristic aesthetic that reminds me of games such as Far Cry: Blood Dragon. The levels start off rather simple, but with each level completed adds more obstacles such as fire turrets, explosive barrels, and fire pits. You can even use these hazards to your advantage against the enemies. Even as the enemies swarm you, there is always a way to maneuver around them. Most levels also have vantage points where you can jump to and from that also lets you redirect enemy moment to your liking. Not once have I died in the game due to the design of the arenas. Each completed play-through can last from an hour to two hours.

HYPERGUN
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 64%
Gameplay - 11/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 3/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 89%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

As the setting is futuristic, the music is mostly based on electronic dance music. It fits the scenery very well, but most of the music in the game didn’t really stick out to me, except for the boss and final boss music. I found those to both be amazing and they’ve gotten stuck in my head quite often. Sound effects are rather goofy, and soft. Even though enemy attacks are indicated by distinct sounds, they don’t sound very good and lack a dynamic feel. The graphics are rather nice, and the alien design is also freaky, but good. Seems to be heavily based on the Doom series as one of the later enemies greatly resembles the Revenant for Doom II.

'HYPERGUN' is rather stable and runs smoothly for the most part, and the controls are responsive, but I did encounter some issues when playing as well. There is a rather annoying glitch that if you collect a weapon and warp at the same time, your gun will turn invisible for the rest of the simulation. There is also another annoying glitch that makes you unable to buy attachments from the hub store unless you restart the game. Sometimes enemies can get stuck on the terrain, or even 'invisible terrain.' During the third boss that takes place in a massive arena, certain secondary weapons can cause the game to lag massively, to the point where it runs in the single digits. Ragdoll physics for some aliens when killed also flail around in a humorous manner; Secretly, I hope they keep this one in.

A rather large difficulty spike in the fourth boss also happens due to the boss' poor design. It is a mob based boss where enemies continuously spawn while you have to constantly move around and destroy these four pillars before you can attack the core. Each pillar that is destroyed also temporarily gives a large stat boost to every enemy in the arena that lets them move much faster, as well as increased damage. On top of that, there are also various fields that randomly appear that can do various things such as drain your ammo, slow your movement, or do damage-over-time to you. I’ve always hated mob-based bosses as they are an example of lazy game design and do not test a player's skill. Whenever I die in the game, it is almost always to the fourth boss and basically whenever I beat that boss, I would generally beat the game as well. I dread fighting the boss every time I get up to it as if you don’t happen to have the right amount of drops, you will most likely lose. The developers did push out an update to make the boss slightly easier (such as the pillars now reach the floor so you’re not forced to look up as you have to dodge enemies and fields on the ground) but it is still a fundamentally flawed boss.

HYPERGUN is also very much balanced around the play style of Dewey, which is strange because stat wise, he’s suppose to be the worst character. It never appeared to me how poorly balanced the game was until I got to the third boss with every character and just how ill-prepared Dirk and Gilligan are with dealing with said boss without the right secondary weapons. In later updates, I sincerely hope the game becomes more balanced around the other characters.

Morally, there isn’t too much to pick at with 'HYPERGUN'. There is some language like “dam” and “hell” said within the logs, but the logs are purely optional to read. In many cases, the player won’t even see it. There is violence, but it all takes place in a simulation and it’s not graphic. Enemies glow red when hit and simply dematerialize when killed.

I see the ambition contained within 'HYPERGUN'. There are quite a few things that I very much like about the game, but there are also many annoyances that prevent me from truly enjoying 'HYPERGUN'; some can be patched, but a lot are issues and complaints that simply can’t be patched out without an extensive overhaul to the mechanics. The aesthetics and humor are great, but the game being too RNG based to have a successful completion, none of the other characters feeling as fun to play as Dewey, and the most of the weapons lacking that ‘oomph’ make me have mixed feelings overall. It is safe for most people to play, but I’m not even sure if most people will want to play it as there are better FPS games, better rouge-lites, and possibly even better games of the combination of genres to play (the developers also seem to be rather unresponsive to certain people as I've tried to contact them multiple times to no avail). If you do decide to pick up this game as a lover of rouge-lites, you’ll get a few dozen hours of enjoyment for the $15 spent.

-Cinque Pierre

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Cinque Pierre

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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