Hypership Out of Control

Go fast. You cannot stop. Explode when hit asteroid! No fun at all!

Despite its shooter appearance and the presence of ships which shoot, Hypership Out of Control by Fun Infused Games is more a game of dodging obstacles across ten levels of fast action akin to a vertically scrolling Techno Kitten Adventure or The Impossible Game albeit a much better and more complete effort. The simple premise is that the ships' space-brakes are out, leading the game to scroll faster and faster as the game continues. Colorful and twitchy, Hypership Out of Control finds itself being a rather "hard core" arcade experience but one which does not take itself seriously from its story and level structure to its quitting taunts and a credits which thanks pop for "quenching late night thirst" and pizza for "being delicious."

Hypership Out of Control is not exactly a funny game, but with levels which often spell out simple words such as "WOOT," "COOL," and "DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE" out of coins and blocks, the game establishes a silly atmosphere not typical of such a game. Each level is full of blocks and obstacles forming multiple pathways through the level, and the challenge is found in picking and staying on a path without crashing. It's not always clear what the best route is, particularly as the screen starts scrolling faster and faster, and to that end the game offers a "Practice" mode which allows players to try any wave right off the bat. Being familiar with what to expect will help a great deal in the game's "Normal" mode, and Hypership Out of Control also offers a "Hardcore" mode which limits the player to one life, a "Super Speed" mode in which the ships' maximum velocity isn't capped, and "Coin Down" which forces players to gather coins to keep the timer active. For such a simplistic game, the variety of modes helps keep the game interesting and challenging; maximum speed on Normal feels outright slow compared to the Super Speed mode, and Coin Down makes the game all the more frantic as the focus on coin gathering can take away from keeping the ship safe.

Beyond survival, Hypership Out of Control is primarily a scoring game, and coins scattered throughout each wave earn points in addition to building up the score multiplier (max of 5). A local scoreboard with on-line sharing documents the date, score, and number of waves completed along with arcade stick support help cement Hypership Out of Control as an excellent arcade-style game. It's a perfect game for a quick fix, easy to pick up and play, an adrenaline rush from the moment the player presses start. Unfortunately, the nature of the game makes for very jittery control, the ship veering sharply no matter what the speedometer reads. While this is necessary as the ship builds up momentum and feels fine when cruising along at a rapid pace, slow speed turning following a crash or after nabbing a slowdown power-up can be annoying when it results in what can feel like cheap deaths at times. The controller bumpers can be used to veer the ship instantly left or right two blocks in either direction, but the twisting nature of the corridors makes such movements useless. Aside from at times questionable control, the game does its best to accommodate players with loud audible warnings when the power shot, shield, or magic star's effects are about to run out. These power-ups -- power shot makes the ship's cannons destroy anything it hits, shield allows the player to absorb one hit, and magic star grants invincibility -- will help the player advance through the game but could also prove disastrous if not for the warnings, and players who play their games with the sound turned down may want to reconsider when racing through Hypership Out of Control.

Thankfully, the game's music is quite good and lends itself to the retro feel, though I do wish it offered more variety in its single two minute long track as it does grow repetitive over time. Hypership Out of Control uses pixelated graphics and isn't much to look at, but it's solid without a hint of slowdown (though I haven't much of an opportunity to try the game out with four players). I do like how each player's ship is color coded so that the shots fired match the ship's color which makes it easier to distinguish among all the fast scrolling objects. The space theme ensures that the sprites contrast well even at high speed which is needed in a game requiring such quick decisions as Hypership Out of Control does demand. While the game does feature four levels of parallax scrolling, it's hardly noticeable as the three independent background star fields are not prominent enough to garner attention and seemingly vanish from sight once the game gets underway. The little exhaust trail behind each ship does sway with the ship movements, but the ships themselves lack any animation whatsoever while moving about beyond the small particle explosion displayed upon crashing. It's a very simple looking game, and the bright colors and incoherent level design help make the otherwise unimpressive graphics acceptable.

Hypership Out of Control makes for a fun arcade title and one worth trying out. Between the aforementioned modes of play and 20 awardments to earn, there's a fair amount of longevity here in what otherwise is a quick twitch game which can be cleared in a matter of minutes (the trial stops after the third wave). Clearing all ten repeating waves proves to be a challenge worth undertaking, and with great replay value for those who appreciate the gameplay offered, the enjoyment to be had is well worth its low price.

★★★★☆
October 7, 2010
September 15, 2010 | 80 points
Developer | Video | Download

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