Review – Hyper Jam

Ever since Rocket League came out in 2015, a lot of developers have decided to try to come up with the next big indie multiplayer title. A few of them managed to stand out, such as PUBG,¬†while others got close but failed to stick to their roots like 505 Games’ Laser League. Does Hyper Jam have what it takes to become a staple multiplayer game in the indie scene? Well, let’s find out.

I can briefly summarize Hyper Jam as a hybrid between a twin-stick shooter and a Power Stone-esque arena brawler. Your objective is to be the first to score 1500 points and win a subsequent round against up to three other players. You can acquire points by damaging and defeating other players, as well as getting a little bonus by winning a round.

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They might look cool, but they all play the same. I kinda liked the Daft Punk dude, though.

All you need to do is choose a character, pick a stage, then proceed to beat the living crap out of your competition. Each character starts their round without any weapons, but you can and will pick up guns, hammers, bows, and katanas randomly scattered throughout the arena. The last one to survive wins the round, but you can still try to score some extra points even if you’re dead, as the game allows the deceased to cast really powerful yet really slow and inaccurate thunderbolts upon the arena. Between each round, players can choose some extra perks such as extra health, fire projecticles, and so on.

In a nutshell, that’s what Hyper Jam has to offer. It’s a fun little party brawler, but unlike other titles that come to my mind, this one is extremely lacking in pretty much every single department.

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A four-player free-for-all sudden death. It took like ten rounds for this to happen.

Controlling your characters isn’t exactly difficult, but I don’t think twin-stick controls were suited for a combat system mainly focused on slow melee attacks and slow explosive weapons. Everybody moves way too fast and your aiming sensitivity is also too extreme, but every single attack is slow and incredibly inaccurate. If you want to deal an even greater amount of damage, you’ll need to hold down the attack button for a few seconds and that makes things even more inaccurate and slow.

The main issue with Hyper Jam, however, is how bare bones it is at the moment. There are just four characters and six arenas to choose from. The four characters you can choose are a generic cyberpunk grunt, an Alita lookalike, a guy wearing a Daft Punk mask, and someone cosplaying as Tony Montana. They might look different from each other, but they all play the same, as there are no special moves in this game. Add in the fact that there’s no single player mode or meaningful progression system, not to mention that the arenas are just skin variations from each other and voil√†, you get a game that’s severely lacking in content as a result.

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The arenas look cool, but they are only different from each other aesthetics-wise…

I’m not going to say that Hyper Jam is a bad game because it isn’t, but it’s so devoid of content at the moment that it’s hard to keep playing it for more than twenty minutes at a time. With just one mode, four characters that are hardly different from each other in terms of gameplay, and half a dozen arenas that only differ from each in terms of aesthetics, this feels like a pre-early access title that just happened to be released for the PS4. If they manage to add more characters in the near future, then we might have something interesting on our hands…

 

Graphics: 5.5

It’s not terrible, but everything is so zoomed out you can’t tell if the characters and environments are actually well-built or not.

Gameplay: 5.0

Hyper Jam features the controls of a twin-stick shooter without the parts that make a twin-stick shooter fun and easy to play in the first place. Aiming at an opponent is harder than it should be.

Sound: 6.5

The typical synthwave soundtrack you’ll find in any game paying homage to the 80’s. It’s definitely not bad, but it’s far from remarkable. The character one-liners are occasionally funny.

Fun Factor: 4.0

There is a good premise for a decent competitive multiplayer title in here, but the amount of actual content it offers is so shallow that it’s almost impossible to keep on playing Hyper Jam for more than two rounds in a row.

Final Verdict: 5.0

Hyper Jam is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Hyper Jam was provided by the publisher.

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