Arcade shooters are a dime a dozen but very few draw inspiration from Atari's Tempest. Hyper Void offers plenty of satisfying gameplay that more than fills this gap in the market, but is it worth exploring the void or should you keep your ship docked?
Hyper Void simply looks incredible. The vastness of space is portrayed perfectly as you see distant planets and stars gradually passing under your ship. It's hard not to feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness as you battle the alien forces within the expansive emptiness. Visual effects such as when the action speeds up or when the playfield morphs will turn your stomach, but in a good way. It would have been awesome to play in stereoscopic 3D, but considering how immersive the game world is already, that may actually be excessive. Hyper Void's soundtrack is composed of mostly progressive trance tunes that seem to consistently match the intensity of every moment. Audio effects as you fire weapons and explode enemies add even more satisfaction to the gameplay. Hyper Void's sights and sounds are truly inspirational as they create an atmosphere that is not only engaging but actually makes the gameplay more exciting.
You play as the pilot of a spacecraft who must destroy alien forces and traverse many challenging environments. Your ship is controlled by moving it left and right on a set path and pushing three of the face buttons to fire different weapons that require automatically recovering energy. This energy rapidly depletes as you shoot, so knowing when to blast away and when to charge is a necessary skill. You are armed with a powerful shot that can only be fired once at a time, a weaker shot that can be fired repeatedly, and a steadily streaming laser. Finding out which ones are effective in the various situations that the game presents to you is part of the challenge. In order to avoid incoming hazards, you can dash out of the way if your reactions are quick enough. You'll also be aided by a few power-ups that can restore your health, immediately destroy a wave of enemies, make you temporarily invincible, or have you shoot every weapon simultaneously for a brief period. There's a lot on your side, but that doesn't mean this adventure is going to be easy.
One area where Hyper Void goes above and beyond is level design. The levels are comprised of different sections with each one being its own unique endurance challenge. You'll find yourself in situations that will blow your mind such as the playfield curling into a loop in the distance thus creating the illusion of the fabric of space being altered. It's quite difficult to wrap your head around sections like this if you think about them too much, but it all makes sense in the heat of the action. Levels also contain segments such as asteroid fields, cylindrical wormholes, and plenty of incredibly awesome boss fights. Although some portions require trial and error, you'll never be perplexed by how to progress. That being said, things will get extremely difficult so be sure that you're the kind of gamer who loves a hardcore challenge before taking on Hyper Void. Also, if you enjoy figuring out the complexities of a game by yourself then you'll appreciate the fact that your hand won't be held at all throughout the entire campaign.
Before starting Hyper Void, don't expect an abundance of modes. There is only one mode in the form of a single player campaign. This might be off-putting to some, but it's an exceptionally long journey that's extremely rewarding to take on. Also, any bells and whistles that you're probably accustomed to in games such as this (like online modes or leaderboards) are also non-existent. It's all about going on an arduous space shooting adventure, so if that doesn't appeal to you then this game probably isn't for you. A couple of replay incentives include unlocking Hyper Mode for each level by obtaining a certain score, beating levels in Hyper Mode, and finding all of the Secret Orbs which allow you to skip the next level. Even though the campaign is already lengthy, there's always more to see and do.
Hyper Void is a game that will amaze hardcore fans of Tempest-style shooters but it's also one that may frustrate and alienate those just looking for a casual arcade shooting experience. Although you won't find any additional modes, the lengthy campaign filled with astoundingly well-crafted levels offers hours of exhilarating arcade bliss if you're tough enough to take on the challenge.
- + Top-notch graphics, music, and sound
- + Satisfying Tempest-style gameplay
- + Massive campaign contains plenty of masterfully designed and imaginative levels
- - The intense difficulty will only appeal to hardcore fans of the genre
- - Merely consists of one mode with no bells and whistles (not even leaderboards)