Houston, we have a problem
From Kool2Play, I’d overlooked Hyperide: Vector Raid when it dropped onto the Switch eShop as of November 21st. But then I saw it was promising a super-fast space jaunt with shooting elements and obstacle-laden, multi-dimensional maps inspired by 80’s movies and naming Tron in Particular. I suddenly found myself quite enticed.
The backstory is simple enough. There’s a damaged ship, you respond to a distress call and race to the rescue. That’s it, nothing more to see here, move along. The control scheme is similarly bare bones but serviceable and easy get to grips with. Left stick moves you slowly and precisely, right stick moves you quickly but also throws your ship around somewhat wildly. Oh, and left bumper accelerates, but you probably won’t need that.
Zooming towards your objective you have an energy meter which pulls double duty as a health bar. This is ever depleting as long as you’re not glued to a narrow blue trail that stretches out into space before you. Hitting objects and structures will diminish this resource rapidly, while gathering crystals scattered along the way gives you a chunk back. If that’s all rushed you by, then buckle up reader because this roller coaster isn’t done yet. You also collect missiles. Those will fire off automatically though as you hit the power up.
Blast off to nowhere
Hyperide: Vector Raid doesn’t look bad, with a simple and somewhat stylised visual. It’s no hardware pusher by any means but it’s colourful and clean enough. That being said, it often feels like it’s to cluttered, frequently you’ll end up slamming into things or missing collectables because you simply can’t tell exactly where they are in the play area. I kept waiting for some sort of Zen moment where I’d suddenly start zipping around the screen like a ninja, but that never came.
This all makes more sense though when you realise this is really a port of Hyperide VR on Steam. Knowing that, I can see how this would work so much better in VR with the added depth perception. You’d surely have a much greater sense of where things are in a three dimensional space. It seems the game did not emerge unscathed from the company trouser press when they flattened it for the Switch version.
Audio on the other hand has fared somewhat better. The sound effects, while not a sensory explosion, do suit the old school feel that Kool2Play have gone for. Despite the infuriating alarm that just won’t quit when your energy gets low. The music I found rather enjoyable, it’s slow but well-paced and with a pretty good bass line. It carried the action along in a timely fashion providing juxtaposition against the somewhat chaotic visual elements.
Travelling at the speed of light
I will say in defence of Hyperide: Vector raid, I did get a couple of giggles out the few bits of somewhat tongue in cheek dialogue. This is also a low priced game at only £3.59. Now we’ve got than out of the way, the game is done, finished, probably never to be played again in around 45 minutes. And that’s being generous.
None of this is to say Kool2Play put in a bad effort. They tried to do a thing and the thing just hasn’t worked out in this case. In VR I could see this title being a much more enjoyable experience, but moving the game to the world of flat displays seems, unfortunately, to have ejected the warp core leaving it somewhat dead in space.