HyperParasiteby Adam Dileva
November 11, 2018
Developer Troglobytes Games, a small indie studio, is asking for a mere $37K (CAD) on Kickstarter to bring their gaming vision to life. I know, it's a story you've heard a hundred times before, but many of these Kickstarter promises are just that, promises without much premise or something to interact with. That's where HyperParasite is different, as there's a demo that's available to check out right now, a pre-alpha build actually, to show what the core premise and gameplay is like and experience it for yourself rather than simply placing blind trust into them.
So what is HyperParasite you ask? Well, I guess I would place it in the twin-stick SHMUP (shoot-em-up) rogue-lite category, but in laymans terms, it's like Kirby was mixed with Hotline Miami. That's right, the enemy "eating" that Kirby is known for, but with the chaos and shooting that Hotline Miami brought us. So while it's not necessarily something we've not seen before, it's got an interesting twist that makes it stand out in the genre, more-so than simply its awesome 80's aesthetic and soundtrack.
Set in the 80's, there's an organism that's capable of infecting and taking over nearly any human being, a parasite that's resembles an oozing blob. This has resulted in the world coming together, law enforcement and crimansl alike, banding together to take down this parasitic enemy. But it could be anyone, as it takes control of any human, and is spreading. The twist? You're actually the HyperParasite. You need to snatch, zap and repeat.
The idea of controlling a parasite that can body snatch nearly anyone is quite interesting, as your abilities will depend on whom you've infected. You're controlling a cop? Then you'll have your gun and be able to shoot the other humans. Took over a homeless man with a shopping cart? Jam that cart into them, etc. This is where the Kirby-like mechanics come in, as you're essentially turning into that person depending on whom you infect.
Gameplay is done in a top down view, and controls are like any twin-stick shooter, with the Left Stick controlling motion and the Right, your aim. As you progress from room to room, you'll be locked in, ala Smash TV, until all of the enemies are cleared, allowing you to progress. Levels are procedurally generated, so every playthrough is completely unique as well. And when you die, and you will, you start right back at the beginning.
I really enjoyed the twist of playing as the parasite, as you're extremely vulnerable when you're not controlling a host, and your powers will differ based on whom you're controlling at the time. There's currently 60 characters that you can control, each with their own regular abilities and special attacks (that have limited use). Each character is unique and plays completely different. Cops can shoot from afar, big brutes can smash anything around them, basketball players can toss their ball at enemies from afar, and more. That's not all though, as there are skill trees, upgrades, items to buy, and of course, challenging boss battles as well.
What I enjoyed most though, even at this very early pre-alpha stage, is its 80's retro aesthetic. Bright neon with a retro vibe, encompassed with a synthwave soundtrack to match, it's a great backdrop, and not just because I'm bias and was born in the 80's either, I swear! Have a friend over? Then try the local co-op mode included as well!
For being an early pre-alpha, it looks and plays quite polished already, so I really hope that they reach their Kickstarter goal. Granted, we played this early version on the PC, it is supposedly going to come to Xbox One, along with other consoles, and even suggests that it's best played with a controller (which is true). It's a ways off, but it gave me just enough to enjoy and be excited for the full release, and we can't wait to see what more features and mechanics get added before the final build. Now go infect some hosts and become the HyperParasite you were meant to be!