The sun is dying and when it goes, it’ll take all of us with it. To survive, we need to set up a colony in a nearby moon and build the star-bridge that will take us to a new home. We don’t have much time until the sun goes Hypernova though.
Genre(s): Real Time Strategy | Tower Defence
Release Date: September 2017
Purchase At: Steam
In Hypernova the first thing you do is set down your mothership and begin constructing mining extractors for the moon’s three primary resources. When you land, your ship clears out an area in the otherwise noxious-fume-coated surface of the moon, leaving you with only a very small area to work with, which you can expand with other buildings, setting up the primary mechanic for the game, one you’ll be repeating until the end of days: add power relay and air purifier.
Once you start building your colony though, adding “cribs” for your very lovely Jamaican aliens—they have the thickest Jamaican accents and between that and their bad jokes, these little green men have a special place in my heart—and raising the population, you’ll start to unlock more technologies, as most of them have population locks in place, such as extended power generators for your mothership, energy being a key resource which limits just how many things you can build.
The other key mechanic and perhaps the best or worst of it all comes very soon after, when one of the many monster lairs spawns enemies that come for your buildings to destroy all you are trying to accomplish. To repel them, you don’t spawn soldiers as you would in other RTS games, instead you just create several different varieties of turrets and place them strategically to prevent enemies from reaching your settlement.
In essence, once you unlock the ability to create turrets, Hypernova essentially becomes a tower-defence game, and in doing so becomes easily addictive for some, but for others such as myself, it becomes incredibly tedious and mindless.
At some point while playing for this review, and having unlocked the lair-destroying genocide cannons—with genocide cannons being my name for them—I simply stopped paying attention and went on to do some house chores, confident that I didn’t need to do anything in the game, that the turrets and automated behaviours would do everything for me.
One thing I do like is how enemies start to evolve, first sending out its minor mooks and slowly adding to the enemy force with stronger and much more durable creatures. Hypernova even warns you in advance, telling you they’ve discovered a new enemy unit. I know it’s pretty much the same as it would be in any other tower defence game, but I appreciate the new enemy announcement.
What I don’t appreciate is just how long it takes to build and research everything. You’ll often spend minutes constructing the simplest of turrets and structures. I suppose it’s to create tension in the very remote case an enemy swarm your defences can’t handle attacks you, which simply won’t happen.
Hypernova is visually quite colourful and bright, but it’s one of the worst optimised games I’ve played in a while, with constant mini-freezes and lockups. Even the autosave function causes the game to lag. It gets truly annoying. At one point the game surprised and sent enemies my way in enough numbers and from different enough directions to strain my defences. I tried to “hastily” move my defences around and apparently that was too much for the game, for the action suddenly stopped dead for a few seconds, then stuttered its way.
Which reminds me, Hypernova has none of the common UI conveniences of the RTS genre and they’re sorely missed. There is no button to instantly focus on the mothership, if you select multiple turrets and make them fly, they will not move together, which defeats the purpose. There is no button or ability to set focus on different categories of buildings, such as moving to every resource gatherer. You can’t even move the screen with the keyboard, forcing you to drag the screen every single damn time. It’s absolutely terrible.
There isn’t much to say about Hypernova’s story, but if tower defence games with a sprinkle of RTS are you cup of tea, then be sure to give Hypernova a look.
For me, one look was enough!
2/5 – Mediocre