Preview – Hyper Universe
Hyper Universe is a 2D side-scrolling MOBA, just released on Steam’s Early Access program.
I’ll address the big elephant in the room straight away. It’s paid early access, with the intent of being F2P on full release. And yes there is a platform to buy in-game items with real world money. The micro transactions, as far as I could tell, were not working at this point in release. Thankfully, they’re not thrown in your face either.
But they’re there and for some people, that can be a pretty big turn off. I personally understand, paid Early Access means that the game is being funded during development and the micro transactions keep the business and updates happening after full release If it’s not your thing and you don’t like that business model, you might want to just wait for the game’s full release.
The game sets itself to be something different in the always expanding MOBA genre. Going for a 2D platformer style instead of a more traditional isometric game. Although not the first 2D MOBA by any means, Hyper Universe has its own look, style and flair to it. It stands out visually and the music in the game is especially fantastic. Looks and sounds are important, but it doesn’t always feel the best when playing.
Before I start getting into things I want to say that the game is fun. Over time with the right developers and community behind it, Hyper Universe could be bonkers addictive. Combos with abilities on most characters feel great and the timing and chaining of abilities at the right time feel so impactful when done correctly.
Get What you Pay For
If there were a light and heavy attack buttons instead of a “hold S to auto attack'” button the game would feel more like a 2D beat’em up MOBA. The controls feel tight (mostly), and the movement, jumping and dashing would just feel smoother with another basic attack system.
As is, it feels janky to have to dash, jump, skid and look all badass running into a fight, to only then have to stop moving because you can’t auto attack and move.
The other problem is one that’s just common for anyone in Australia, NZ or OCE. No Oceania or even Asian servers to play on. This meant out of all the games I played, including the training missions I had a 320-350 ping, connected to the US (West coast). Ouch.
But honestly, I had a ball with the game. I found 3 Hyper’s that I liked, Cain, in particular, was a stand-out. After playing about two-hours with Cain I decided to have a look into the item system a bit and to see if I could start to find synergies and interesting builds with him. Items are a staple these days to what fans think of within MOBAs.
Rather than offer a large library of items that are available at any time during the match, Hyper Universe offers you one load out for each character with more load outs unlockable with in-game currency.
Geared up and Ready to Go
You can equip six items from the large library of gear per load out and may only select one load out at the start of a match. Each character has four unique items available only to them. Every item has one or more upgrade tiers, with each tier costing more and more in-match gold, but also increasing in power and bonuses given.
There is a bit of depth here, it’s not hardcore but not completely casual either. A power gamer will still have fun finding and breaking the meta with this system.
I had good solid frames, even with all the chaos that would often spread over the screen during the team fights and didn’t notice any graphical bugs. The 2.5D graphics look great, with all the characters, slightly cliché anime, looking fantastic and largely different to one another. One of the tanks is even a giant venus flytrap, who works pretty much how you’d imagine. Lots of vines, biting and poisonous gas.
The jungling in the game is rewarding and a two level lead held by the opposing team can be quickly caught up by effectively clearing the jungle. This gives bigger minions and in-game stat buffs to defence, attack or speed.
Welcome to the Jungle
If I ask myself what I think is always the most important thing with an early access game it would be; “Is it worth the money now, or should I wait for the F2P?”
And I’m split honestly. If you’re not in the US or Europe, I wouldn’t recommend it. Wait and hope that on full release there is an OCE or Asia server. If I was in the US or Europe and it was about $10 I wouldn’t be disappointed. The game’s still in its infancy but if it has a passionate community and good developers it’s one to keep an eye on.