Many reading this article will be familiar with Real Time strategy games. Games where you position units and structures under your control to secure areas of the map and/or destroy your opponents' assets all in real time. Whilst many others are also familiar with the genre of game called “tower defence”, where a player builds a series of defensive structures in order to face down multiple waves of enemies on a predictable timer. Hypernova: Escape from Hadea, is a hybrid of those to, creating a new genre I’d like to call Real Time Tower defence.
How this comes to pass ties to the storyline of the game, where the basic premise is that your noble race is trying to escape their doomed homeworld and the only way to do so is by mining their resource rich moon. (As they depleted all the resources on their homeworld long in the past.) The problem is of course that the moon is covered in extremely toxic and corrosive purple gas, as well as hostile local fauna who don’t quite appreciate the invading alien masses!
Your ultimate goal in the game is to establish a population of 100 000 people (all preparing to escape) as well as collect enough resources and manufacture a “Stellar Bridge” which will see your eager people to a new home, all whilst weathering constant assaults from angry locals.
This of course involves an ever-escalating juggling-act of goals, such as building purifiers to keep areas of air clean, power relays to keep everything humming with electric charge, mining units that extract raw materials from nearby nodes food, water and entertainment to keep your would-be colonists happy and automated defence turrets to keep the nasty monsters from eating them alive. All the while the difficulty and complexity of all these tasks increases as you progress
What makes all these tasks more interesting however, is that not only do the available resource nodes deplete fairly quickly, but all your buildings have the ability to “lift-off” in a manner not too dissimilar from the good old Terran technology found in Starcraft 2, allowing you to re-position and exploit several areas of the map at once.
Whilst all of these tasks sound daunting at first, the game is actually very intuitive in its ability to lead you along and develop your mining/escape operation. Much like an expert juggler who starts with only one ball, steadily adding more until the air is filled with multicolored excitement.
The game does manage this quite well, as whilst it seems like it’s very “easy” to begin with, you will be scampering to try and get your last colonists off world as your infrastructure crumbles around you by the time you’ve got things to the final stages of the game.
A major missed opportunity (and a surprising one at that considering its tower defence roots) is that the game has opted to have no multiplayer functionality. So, there is no option to “race” another player, to see who escapes first, or perhaps even work together in the micromanagement of your operation. A shame really, but one that could potentially be rectified with an expansion in the future.
This brings me to my final gripe. In a game where you are the only player and are expected to play for several hours till completion, why is there no pause feature? I know the game was going for a “Realtime action vibe” but the lack of the simplest of features became somewhat annoying near the late game.
The game has a quirky somewhat humorous style backed by goofy brightly coloured aliens eager to save their own lives through the use of their advanced technology. The art style has been well thought out and is very consistent throughout the game, giving distinct retro 60’s Sci-fi vibes all throughout. All the monsters have small little lore entries that are often quite amusing to read through as you frantically redirect power to your flamethrower arrays to fight them off.
Overall, the game is worth a play if tower defence is your bailiwick, or if your curious to see if you can keep your colonists alive long enough to get them off planet. Don’t be afraid to pull up roots and expand in another direction and pay attention to the helpful tutorials!
Self proclaimed Geek of All Trades, Gregg sticks his fingers in as many hobby pies he can find, until his magpie-like tendencies distract him onto something new of course.
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6 September 2017
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