[Update 20/11]: Following from this review, the Developers have informed me they will be releasing a patch which updates the audio, adds control options and reduces the price of the game to £1.99 / €1.99 . When such a patch arrives, I’ll update my findings and conclusion.

Hyperide: Vector Raid Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Kool2Play

Publisher: Kool2Play

Release Date: November 21st 2018

Price as of Article: £3.59 GBP

Game code provided by Kool2Play for review

Story

Hyperide: Vector Raid – which I will refer to as Hyperide VR for reasons explained later – doesn’t feature much in the way of story. The IMS Horizon is damaged, and an Admiral requests that all pilots in the sector respond to its distress call. You’re one of those pilots, and must lend aid by giving chase.

Gameplay

The controls in Hyperide VR are very simple: you use the left stick to make gentle adjustments when steering your ship, and the right stick will move you around quicker. When used in conjunction, they’ll pull you from one corner of the screen to another in a few seconds. For most levels, you can get away with just using the left stick, but the final boss required both. The control scheme was straightforward, but it worked. I was disappointed that the missile powerup automatically fires for you, as this would have been a good way to pass more control over to the player, even if it just required a single button press to perform exactly as it does currently.

Astonishingly, you aren’t even given the option to flip the vertical axis. This made the game incredibly disorientating for me, to begin with, because I’m used to flight games where pulling down on the analog stick moves you up. This is how games used to function by default, including Star Fox 2 on SNES. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is still the industry norm. At the very least, I’ve never seen a game with 3D flight not give you the opportunity to modify your controls at all. 

Aren’t you a little short for a game?

Hyperide VR Review Screenshot 2

Even with the added difficulty of relearning how to fly in 3D space, Hyperide VR lasted me less than 30 minutes. That’s right, the entire thing was completed in under half an hour. There were 4 missions in total, and there’s no difficulty setting. I was so shocked by this that I contacted the publishers to make sure I wasn’t accidentally given an alpha code!

According to them, Hyperide VR will apparently include a leaderboard at launch, which will let you compete against your friends. Though there was no scoring system in the version I played, this would add some much-needed replayability. At the moment, there’s really no reason for me to return to the game after beating the final level. They did also say they had no current plans to add different control options though, which is a shame.

Vector Raid, or Virtual Reality?

After a quick internet search, I believe I discovered the reason why the game felt so scant. A few weeks ago, Kool2Play released “Hyperide VR” on Steam: a virtual reality game, requiring a VR headset to play. This makes significantly more sense, as the short playtime is far better suited to a virtual reality game. The Switch version is obviously a port of this, for about half the price. For those wondering, the Steam version is currently priced at £5.79 and has no user reviews.

At least it’s not all bad?

Hyperide VR Review Screenshot 3

The saving grace for Hyperide VR is that the gameplay itself is relatively enjoyable. It has the look and feel of a soft, low-poly Star Fox game, which is what I wanted from it. The game features an energy meter, which serves as both your health and fuel. It slowly depletes as you fly around, but regenerates slowly if you follow a blue energy trail that’s in the centre of the screen. You can also pick up crystals to get a boost of energy, and this is the core challenge to the game. Stray from the middle of the screen and it will cost you energy, but collect crystals and you’ll make up for this loss. 

As I mentioned, this energy is also essentially your health bar – fly into something and your energy meter drops. Do this too many times and it’s Game Over. It adds an extra layer of peril to the fun, fast-paced gameplay. Unfortunately, this also brings another headache to Hyperide VR; a literal one. When your health drops too low, the game flashes a warning at you, with an accompanying bleeping noise. This get’s incredibly annoying, as you’re often low health, scraping through by the skin of your teeth, and it’s the only sound you’ll hear. It just lasts longer than it needs to, honestly.

Audio

The aforementioned alarm that plays far too often drags down the overall quality of the audio. The game did have some reasonable backing music that was gentle and calming, though this was often hard to hear over the bedlam. The sound effects are a little rough, too. They generally sounded distorted and too bass-y. Overall, the sound quality was poor, but I can’t knock the music itself.

Visuals & Performance

Hyperide VR Review Screenshot 1

Visually, the game has a nice aesthetic. Its vibrant colours and muted edges are appealing, and suit the 80’s Tron theme they were going for. It doesn’t break any boundaries with the low-poly space theme, but I’ve seen much rougher looking games on the Switch. I did notice the background was – most of the time – pretty empty, however. The occasional building-like spire or asteroid would pass by, but the black-and-blue color gradient frequently served as the only backdrop. 

There were no performance issues, but it would be deeply worrying if there were. This is a simple game so there’s no reason why it should stress the Switch. It features screenshots, video capture and cloud backups, but there’s little reason to use these, as Hyperide VR is so short.

Value

You might have guessed by now but I was unimpressed by what I saw. A game that takes 30 minutes to complete has no reason to cost more than £1 unless it’s a visual marvel. The promise of a leaderboard does little to change my mind on this, as it won’t make many want to replay it, in it’s current state. If Hyperide VR drops in price or goes on sale to around £1 – and a high score leaderboard is added – I would recommend it to anyone that wants to scratch the Star Fox itch without breaking the bank. As it is, however, I would steer clear of it.

Pros

P

Engaging gameplay

P

Nice aesthetic

Cons

P

Far too short – only 4 missions!

P

Blaring warning sounds

P

Lack of control options