[Beyond PlayStation] HyperParasite Review
HyperParasite from Hound Picked Games, QubicGames, and Troglobyte Games is an old-school infused twin-stick shooter. Learn more in our HyperParasite review.
Hound Picked Games and Troglobyte Games took the 1980s infused HyperParasite to Kickstarter back in October 2018 with a €25,000 goal to bring the game to PC and consoles. The project, unfortunately, did not manage to reach its main funding goal, but the teams at HoundPicked Games and Troglobyte Games soldiered on, and with a partnership with QubicGames, have released HyperParasite on the Nintendo Switch. How does the game stack up on Nintendo’s hybrid console? Let’s find out!
HyperParasite tells the story of a body-snatching alien parasite – the titular HyperParasite – who invades a dystopian Earth with heavy 1980s vibes. Its goal? To destroy humankind by going from body to body, controlling 60 different characters with different abilities and skills as it works its way up the chain to bring it closer and closer to its ultimate goal: to push the big red button that will make everything go boom, as a giant mushroom cloud engulfs everything around it, ending humankind’s turn on the planet.
The game is a roguelite with permadeath. What this means is that as long as there are any bodies around you for you to snatch with your deadly tentacles, you can use that host – and its health bar – to continue wreaking havoc. But if you find yourself without a host to control, a single shot will end your existence, costing you a life. No more lives left after being shot? Then it’s game over, man! What makes this a roguelite and not a roguelike, is that you’ll slowly but surely be making some progress with every run that you do. With the cash you collect from your efforts, you’ll get to unlock more and more hosts, even being able to place some host bodies in storage units so that you can call upon them in subsequent runs.
Your journey will take you through five acts of procedurally generated content, which means that no two runs will be the same. While the pop culture references are from the 1980s – the best decade ever – the game has a look and feel are inspired by a different era in video game history: the 1990s! The devs took inspiration from the twin-stick shooters of the Nintendo 64 – which released in 1996 in Japan and North America and then in Europe in early 1997 – and PlayStation–the first PlayStation console which launched in Japan back in 1994, followed by North America and Europe in 1995.
Since this one is a twin-stick shooter, you’ll move around with the left analog stick, aiming with the right analog stick. You can sue your primary attack with the ZR button, while your secondary attack will be mapped to the ZL button. As you attack, you need to keep an eye on your ammo, so that you can reload with the R button and are not caught by surprise. You can dash around with the L button to avoid attacks and can leave your current host body by pressing the X button. You can open up a map with the – button to see where you’ve been and where you should be going to complete each stage that you take on.
You should give the game’s Tutorial a go before you dive into the game proper so that you can learn all of the basics and do go in blind. For example, to be able to snatch a new host, you need to have your HyperParasite’s possession cone overlap a potential host’s body so that you can then press the ZL button to dive in and take over the driving seat. Something you learn in the Tutorial – and which you’d learn the hard way when playing the game – is that some enemies will have a lock icon over them, which means you can’t grab them as a host.
As I mentioned before, there’s a nice variety of potential hosts in HyperParasite, with 60 different characters for you to infect and control. You can use your cash with Wito, she of the Witos, who is disguised in Earth as to not draw the attention of humans. There are many shops in each of the acts you’ll take on, and you can use the money you get to purchase items that you can use with the Y button to even the odds. If you find a brain, you’ll be able to use it to unlock a new host character! Just place the brain on the corresponding pedestal, pay the fee, and you’ll unlock a new potential host. You can only carry around one brain at a time, so be sure to find a shop ASAP! There’s an Almanac section you can visit to check all of the host bodies you have already unlocked, as well as those that are still within your reach so that you can review their overall stats, buffs, attacks, and special abilities.
There’s also the option of upgrading the HyperParasite to increase its abilities. You could, perhaps, select to increase its overall stock of lives – something I highly recommend you select as your first upgrade option if you want to extend your runs -, but there are also other options such as increasing its attacks to boost the damage dealt by primary and secondary attacks of hosts, as well as lowering the overall time it takes for the special skill to cooldown before you can use it again – which is also a very useful upgrade. You can also boost the host’s hit points, movement speed, and the dash distance,
At the end of each act stage, you will run into a boss that will test your skills in full. You’ll need to apply everything you’ve learned so far, and hope that the host you use to start the battle is good enough for you to be able to end it. If you lose your host during the boss fight, odds are you’re going to run into a host type or two that will still be locked for you to possess… unless you’ve managed to find enough brains to unlock the extra host types for the act so that you can have more options to win the fight.
You can customize your experience with the different game options on offer. You can change the language between English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish (EFIGS), as well as Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese. You can also choose to have the game show or remove the minimap, damage counters, and controls, as well as turn the vibration on or off. There’s also an auto-aim option that can be set to one of ten different levels, and you can change the balance for the music and sound effects. For the video presentation, you can switch the gamma value, as well as change the pixel resolution between low and high.
I’ve been waiting to play the final version of HyperParasite for a while now, and I’m happy to report that the wait has been worth it. The game’s retro art style and synthwave soundtrack certainly help to make this one stand out on Nintendo Switch. HyperParasite is a full-on homage to the 1980s and is packed with pop culture references that give a huge nod to that era. You will run in so-called “heroes” that are parodies of beloved icons such as Rocky Balboa, Peter Venkman, John McClane, and more. The game is out today on Nintendo Switch in Asia and will be out worldwide tomorrow for $17.99.
This HyperParasite review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Hound Picked Games.