Hyperforma is based on the original iOS release that has been updated for Nintendo Switch. The game takes us back to the Atari classic Breakout and sees you work in a block-breaking puzzle experience to find out the truth behind The Ancients. Does it work or should you hack your way back out of The Great Network?
+Intuitive controls make for an easily learned experience
+Puzzles offer plenty of challenge from beginning to finish
+The Cyberpunk-themed soundtrack works well with the overall design
-Side-missions can be extremely hard to complete during initial playthrough
-Some of the puzzles can be overwhelmingly difficult
-A slightly-weak narrative that may be ignored by some.
It’s two in the morning and here I am typing my review for Hyperforma, a title that has worked its way slowly into my heart, quickly taking me back to my childhood moments at my grandparents house, glued to the Atari and playing the 1976 classic from Steve Wozniak and Nolan Bushnell by the name of Breakout.
I’ve been at this damn puzzle for nearly an hour, realizing that I’d been sucked into a dark, malevolent world, one carefully crafted by the ever-so-mysterious peoples known only as The Ancients. The only way to navigate the weird and mysterious place known as the Ancient Network, I’ve had to hack my way through, using various abilities, and ensuring that I make very few mistakes while working against a 3D rotating puzzle in order to destroy its central core.
The downside? I’ve only shut a few of these guys down and no matter what I do, it’s getting harder, and harder, to the point the final moments had me on the verge of screaming in pure frustration; not because it’s hard, but because I’ve not caught onto the puzzles I should have seen before.
Hyperforma for the Nintendo Switch seems like a love story to Blockbreaker
One of the things I have to appreciate about this game, if I’m going to be honest, is the fact that Fedor Danilov seems to absolutely love the Atari classic that seemed to inspire Hyperforma as a whole. In his game, he takes the most basic building blocks to Blockbreaker, pieces them together, and builds them up from there.
In truth, it’s an odd – albeit unique – combination of mixing a Rubix Cube together with Blockbreaker as a whole. You’ll find that bouncing your character around the screen isn’t the easiest thing you can do. It’s not as easy as you think and you will find each of your attacks being difficult to properly place as the puzzle fights back against your assaults.
Each one comes entirely different from its predecessor, each one having different obstacles that get in your way even as you increase your little golden heroes’ capabilities with each and every chapter. You’ll get the ability to split your user up, allowing clones of him to dart about, wiping out as many blocks as they can by using another ability that increases their attack power while also using other abilities to make defensive squares even smaller.
Hyperforma is all about the patterns if you can watch them as happen.
One of the hardest things to do in this game is to find the patterns. The change in pacing is rapid, it doesn’t draw back its punches, and it’s one of the most challenging aspects of the game. Time is always against you, forever molding your overall experience, and seeking to interrupt your pattern the best it can.
Your powerups are important as you might think. Each one can be evolved in multiple ways including the ability to increase their duration, making them more readily available, or increasing their effectiveness. However, Hyperforma is designed to counter you as much as it can. You’ll find electric blocks being tossed your way, some being unbreakable that will make you draw your punches, holding them until the time is right, and then swinging at them.
Except here’s the twist: The puzzle rotates. Your grid literally rotates before your eyes, pushing you to try harder, harder, and harder with every one of them you complete. You will need to take note of their speed, take note of just how fast they rotate and even how fast that each block expands, detracts, or even explodes.
It’s a hellish cyberpunk experiment I wasn’t ready for, one that just manages to swat you around like a useless ball on a drawstring that gets bounced around endlessly until it happens – the cycle is broken and you manage to nail the core.
Hyperforma’s hardest portions of the game aren’t the easiest and the bosses can be just as tough
While each puzzle does exist, there is another portion of the game you might not be expecting to be in your path: boss encounters. These boss encounters are puzzles of their own, they will each require you to pay attention to their patterns, what their abilities are, and timing your attacks.
You won’t have your abilities to help you here, unlike Neo, you are as only as powerful as your timing. The games overall experience thrives on you learning how the puzzles work, how their power cubes can work in your favor, and what you can expect to do throughout your entire time in the Ancient Network.
That’s where the narrative comes into play. It’s a powerful one, one that has you seeking information from each of the guardians that you will meet, each one explaining the events that lead up to – what I call “The Collapse” – and getting any information that they can give you. Expect quite a bit of this, but don’t expect it to be insanely deep – not at first anyway.
Time to Alt+F4 out from The Great Network: Conclusion
Having missed out on the overall experience on iOS, I can only imagine that having the features we do are rather great. The ability to use gyro-controls, HD rumble, and even super-responsive controls is an entirely unique experience, which at times – can be a bit of a doozy for mobile players.
Let me make this clear though – it’s not. It’s easy, really easy, and it works just as you would expect. It’s super responsive, the game sounds as good as you might imagine and it looks just as equally good. Its audiovisual designs are superb to be quite frank and the idea of risk versus reward plays out to its fullest.
Platforms: iOS (2018) and Nintendo Switch (2019)
Version Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Release Date: Available Now
I just wish some of the later levels had offered a deeper challenge than they had, but you know what? They pay off was worth it and I’m already going back for more to complete more of the side challenges.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game for review. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.