Space shooters have been around since time began. Well, at least since video games began, at least. There are plenty of them still on the market, flooding consoles, PC and mobile devices with their simplistic styles and gameplay ranging from the easy to the super challenging. Indie Developers INFramez Technology's Hyper Void stands with the masses insofar that it is a classic arcade game for the modern era and players can expect a beautifully rendered, colourful romp through space, shooting aliens, with controls that are easily accessible and gameplay that is simple and fun.
That's not to say that Hyper Void is not a challenging game. The learning curve is generous enough for a novice to the genre to be able to pick it up and play but it definitely gets more difficult as the levels progress. The control scheme is simple enough to quickly get to grips with - the player can move around the screen in their RM-24 spaceship with the left stick, shoot with either the A or X buttons (which give them different levels of attack) and perform an impressive evasive dash with the left or right trigger. Flying through wormholes always feels smooth and responsive, allowing for up to a full 360 degrees of movement around the screen when the level type allows. It genuinely feels great when you are able to pull off a spectacular attack and evasion, with explosions of colour popping all over the screen and hearty messages of encouragement appearing, congratulating you for causing massive damage, clearing a wave of enemies unscathed, or taking out every alien ship in your way.
Defense becomes as important as attack as the levels progress, as obstacles such a meteors are introduced to the wormholes, meaning that you have to keep your ship moving in order to stay alive and take the fight to your enemies, who evolve to become more advanced and more deadly as the journey progresses. Some obtain armour that can only be breached when they shoot, whereas some drop mines and environmental threats that erupt in a devastating explosion when shot or if you fly too close. It becomes a challenge to remain unscathed but the action never truly becomes overwhelming. We found ourselves quickly learning how to look ahead to the distance to spot deadly threats before they were upon us, giving us that split-second to eliminate or avoid the incoming attack and in the times that we did come unstuck, we found the checkpoint system generous enough that it never felt frustrating to be sent back to the beginning of our current wormhole.
Visually, Hyper Void is a treat, using a bright colour palette that would not be unwelcome in any eighties arcade but with high resolution graphics that make everything seem sharp and clear. The backgrounds and wormholes are innovatively designed and never get dull, changing enough to make you believe that you are venturing into the far reaches of space and discovering all the wonders therein. When enemy ships explode, they do so with such a flair that it feels like a celebration and the RM-24 zips around the screen, looking imposing yet sleek with exciting animations for the semi-teleportation dash and for whenever the player hits a temporary invincibility or a 'power surge' power up which grants extra damage for a time. With a soundtrack that perfectly compliments the adrenaline-fuelled actions, the whole experience becomes an exciting rush, as you fly by the seat of your pants to reach the end of the wormhole with your RM-24 intact.
Engaging in battle with alien enemies awards points, which are tallied up at the end of a level but in many ways, point-scoring falls secondary to the action. Should a player surpass a certain points threshold, they are granted things such as Hyper Mode, which allows you to replay the level with the tempo dramatically increased, but if you are not all that bothered about leaderboards, scoring is not really all that important to the overall experience.
There is a plot that runs through the gameplay, delivered in optional message logs that the player can shoot when they reach the end of certain levels. The backstory is interesting enough to keep interest up as you rush through the levels but it's hardly ground-breaking material and may be the only true weakness the game has other than the lack of a lengthy campaign. There is only a relatively short run of 30 levels to conquer, with a challenging boss fight in the endgame with the experience finishing there. There's no real incentive to replay levels and there's no additional content available, so that may disappoint.
Hyper Void is a stellar shoot 'em up experience that passes the time in a fun and exciting way, with gorgeous high resolution graphics and an action-pumping soundtrack. All for a price tag that, in our opinion, is worth an adrenaline-fuelled romp, even if it the whole thing doesn't last as long as we may have liked.