Hyper Jam from Bit Dragon is a game that I’ve been keeping my eye on for a while. Time seems to fly by so fast though and now the game is officially releasing! So we’ve gotten our hands on it and have a full-fledged review for you to sink your teeth into. Is this game really worth all of the hype and excitement that I’ve felt since I first heard about it? Keep reading and find out. Maybe you’ll have a new favorite game on your hands…
‘Hyper Jam is a neon-soaked arena brawler with a dynamic perk drafting system that makes each match different from the last. The hard-hitting fusion of lethal weapons, stackable perks, furious combat, and a killer synthwave soundtrack makes Hyper Jam a multiplayer experience that’ll keep you coming back for more.’
- ‘Furious Combat
Hyper Jam is a neon-soaked arena brawler with a dynamic perk drafting system that makes each match different from the last. The hard-hitting fusion of lethal weapons, stackable perks, furious combat, and a killer synthwave soundtrack makes Hyper Jam a multiplayer experience that’ll keep you coming back for more.
- Furious Combat
Hyper Jam features fast-paced multiplayer arena gameplay for 2-4 players. Annihilate your opponents round after round using katanas, rocket launchers, sledgehammers, and more.
- Perk Drafting
After every round, players choose new perks that stay with them for the rest of the game, stacking and combining with their existing ones to create more powerful effects. A wide pool of distinctive perks ensures no two games are ever the same.
- Local and Online Multiplayer
Grab some controllers and take on your friends at home, or test your skills against the rest of the world in public or private online matches. Cross-platform matchmaking means there are even more challengers to face!
- ‘80s Aesthetic
Play as a strong selection of ’80s-inspired characters on a variety of beautiful and dangerous arenas, ranging from a sundrenched Miami hotel rooftop to a gritty Neo-Tokyo subway.
- Killer Synthwave Soundtrack
An addictive soundtrack featuring Carpenter Brut, Dance With The Dead, Meteor, Vulta and more will keep hearts racing as you blow each other to bits.
- AI Bots
Hone your skills against AI bots before taking the fight online. Customise bot difficulty, game rules and more to create your own challenge.’
Audio & Visuals:
The soundtrack, right out of the gate, was the best part of the experience of Hyper Jam. That is to say, it’s my favorite part anyway. The game has more solid parts to it than just music. The soundtrack is so punchy and bassy. Techno and synth wave came pumping out of my surround sound so hard. My first instinct was to turn the music down. However, my suggestion is to not do it. The musical is so inspirational and in the heat of the moment, it’s like you’re in a movie.
I was also living for the voiceovers. The announcer is just so damn great. “Get Ready. Fight!” Oh man, do I love that. It’s such a throwback to playing fighting and racing games on the Sega Dreamcast back in the day. I also particularly loved that every weapon sounded different when it could’ve all sounded generic. Even more than that, I thought it was creative how they treated it almost like a round of some sport. You hear a whistle blow at the end of a match. It’s really truly different.
Do I wish that all of the characters had voiceovers? Yes, I really do. I think having them have a taunt before the fight and a victory phrase at the end would really be a nice touch. If there is ever a Hyper Jam 2, that’s what I would love to see in it. Otherwise, the people at Bit Dragon have a game that sounds great and vibes really well.
Now, onto the visuals. I think we should start off with level design. Level design is something that could make or break an arena brawler like this. While there are a decent number of levels, there aren’t so many that they finally made a bad one. To cut to the chase, I actually think all of the levels that my friends and I played in were great. The real thing you start to notice is that players tend to like one or two specific levels.
Maybe that lends itself to revealing if other levels aren’t as fun or “suck”. But we tried to play everything once through to not be biased. The four of us agreed that we would love to play any of them again. Some have more open spaces, some have more places to hide behind. There are places that you can fall off of in some levels too, adding to the fighting game feel of Hyper Jam. I, for one, really tend to think of these levels and wonder if Power Stone wouldn’t be awesome in them!
The characters, you’ll find, are very mixed. Some look 80’s, some look futuristic, and some look like 80’s futuristic. They are all designed so well and look so great with the neon washing over them in gameplay. And speaking of the lighting, the whole game, from top to bottom, is coated in a thick layer of neon. This doesn’t just entail the lighting in the actual levels as you fight. But neon is also the primary color scheme of the menus throughout.
The part that I find the most interesting about the visuals is the quasi-top down, mainly isometric view. This may be strange to some of you who have played other arena brawlers in the past. Usually, the camera is closer to the whole level. In this instance, the camera is pulled way back. This can reveal both a location that a player is hiding but also let hiding players know that someone is dashing toward them. The same angle could help or hinder the experience. You could possibly see a pickup on the ground before someone, which is great. But maybe, because how it’s set up, the other player can still get there before you.
With regards to this game, there is a lot to cover. In terms of gameplay, Hyper Jam keeps core concepts and introduces new concepts to the arena brawler genre. If you want to jump into the tutorial mode upon starting the game, that might be best. While experienced arena brawler players may handle this just fine, it may be a lot to take in right off the bat for a newer player. For example, the tutorial will teach you some of the many unique aspects that Hyper Jam has to offer. However, what it cannot teach you are strategies. Strategies could include finding hiding spots, utilizing certain weapon and perk combos, or utilizing vantage points in any given level. Things like that need to be realized through practicing.
Some of the core concepts that were kept include things like multiplayer up to four people. You’ll also find that it has a very simple scoring system, just like an old school arcade kind of game. This is stark contrast from other titles out there. In many, many other games that exist, you’ll find yourself killing as many other players as possible. Or maybe being the last one standing.
There are probably more new concepts introduced in Hyper Jam than existing ones, so we have a lot to talk about here. I’ll keep it short though! First off, my favorite thing in any game is when you can play a multiplayer game on your own. Whether you’re playing a two player game against a computer or a shooting game like GoldenEye. It’s necessary to be able to hone your skills without having to deal with other people.
So the fact that this game includes bots in it is one of the best gameplay aspects in this game. It seemed for a few years that games relied so heavily on getting you online against others. Nobody ever talks about what to do if you have no internet or the servers are down. Bots make this game great because if you know ZERO people and have NO internet (after buying the game), then you still have something to play. Are the bots smart? Yes, they’re pretty ballsy too. I would keep the difficulty low, until you’re confident you can go up. Starting too high will really frustrate you.
But the features don’t stop there! The next best inclusion is the perks. The perks are chosen before the round starts. Whoever has the least amount of current points gets to have first crack at the perk they want. The points that I’m referring to come along in the round. So if you’re killing, you get points. If you’re doing lots of damage, you’ll get points. But if you aren’t doing those things, then at least the game is fair and gives you first perk pick. Then the person with the next least amount of points gets to go and so on. The last person who gets to pick is the best player from the previous round.
The perks that are available for choosing are completely randomized. This keeps every round different from every other round. Best of all, the perks stack. So as you acrue them across the rounds, you improve. This keeps the tides changing. There could be a player that did not earn very many points over the first couple of rounds who gain the right perks and come back and kick butt. The fact that you can come back by being not as great as the others is fantastic. The inverse is also true of course. You could be doing great in the beginning and do worse later. And by getting the last perk stacked on top of a perk you already have, you have a brilliant combo and make a comeback!
Weapons are aplenty. The weapons range from single handed guns all of the way up to over the shoulder bazookas. Each of these weapons have regular and charged attacks. It makes a bit more sense for things like a sword or a bow to have a charge attack. At least more than it does for a bazooka to be able to charge. Yes, they all have downsides that make using them both good and bad. You can’t really spam anything outright. But it’s your call which weapon you want to pick out as they drop.
Controls are another aspect that is a bit different from conventional arena brawlers. The controls in this game basically are twin stick controls. The shoulder buttons are the primary buttons used in this game. You can also pick up weapons with the A button. This is an oversimplification obviously, I was mainly trying to hit home that your thumbs will be doing most of the work. This title is more run and gun than you’re probably used to with games like Fortnite floating around out there. If you’re good at twin stick shooters, then you’re going to be fine with these controls. Especially because the aiming is so accurate and the movement is so tight.
When you die in Hyper Jam, you do die. However, you have more chances to kick your opponents’ teeth in. While you’re waiting for the round to end, you can drop a laser down on the arena. It lets you choose whomever you’d like. The only downside to it is that it has a cool down. I suspect that it’s only that way so that you don’t break the game that is ongoing in the arena. If you just keep trying to kill them with an infinite laser beam, nobody would want to play anymore. The laser from on high is a great addition and is like a modern day teabagging. But at least this has a purpose!
Longevity & Replayability:
Oh boy does this game have a lot to offer in this department. So first off, this is a game that you can experience both on and offline. This isn’t some massive online multiplayer experience. It’s a tight 1v3 that expects you to do any combination of the following. You can play just yourself with some bots. You and up to two friends can play with some bot action as well. Maybe you all want to only play against each other, this game allows it. That’s a lot and that’s only the offline aspect.
Should you want to play online, you can. You can jump into an online match on your own if you want. Maybe your buddy is at his place and you guys want to play together. Feel free to do so against some other random players. What if you and three friends are all at your own homes and want to play online against each other. This game can do it! Since there is no storyline to get through and it’s all just a jump in and fight kind of game, this title is essentially endless.
As for other or newer modes, @HyperJamGame tweeted this out the month before the game released.
You can play Hyper Jam online or offline with up to 4 players, but no "co-op" modes yet. That doesn't stop you from forming an alliance with another player until the end though!
— Hyper Jam (@HyperJamGame) January 7, 2019
So let’s keep our fingers crossed for more Hyper Jam action in the future. If more content gets added, I’ll definitely update this article.
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