Battle is frantic. Explosions burst behind swordsmen as they charge heedlessly forward, through the cacophony of death, in order to crush opposition at blade point. The way of heroes in the Hyper Universe is simple; conquer your foes, hone your skills, practice your talents, and claim victory.
Conflict is more than just larger weapons and stronger warriors. The strategy hangs in the placement, in the clever tactics, in making smooth and considered moves in the headlights of oncoming death. The heroes of this world exist not just to be strong but to be wise, to make decisions that appear weak or fleeting, in order to only fight when advantages can be leveraged well.
Smart beats strong, welcome to Hyper Universe.
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Anyone familiar with the genre-trappings of the multiplayer online battle arena genre (typically called MOBAs) will be immediately familiar with the meat of Hyper Universe’s various mechanics. Three players on each team will select from a group of heroes with abilities to suit certain roles. Some heroes are good at supporting from the back lines, some are strong and survive prolonged skirmishes, some are ambushers designed to strike flanks or intercept those weak and fleeing from combat. So far, all standard fare.
Where Hyper Universe largely differs is in its presentation; a 2D battle map where players view their hides from the side, and the various lanes of attack are multiple platforms, some higher and some lower. These platforms aren’t hidden by tall grass or broken sightlines, but by having little levels on which heroes can climb or drop to drop down onto enemies, or climb up from behind and below to sandwich attackers. From a MOBA standpoint, the tactics are largely similar, but they feel different when factoring in how to conceptualize a battlefield that’s ruled more by gravity than by pathways between lanes.
As We Wait in Valhalla
As with many lore and mythology-based experiences, a ragtag assemblage of heroes feels familiar, and it does relatively little of note in Hyper Universe. The division of assassins, strikers, tanks, and supports are all fairly recognizable at a glance, and giving players a wide variety of choices is effectively expected at this point.
Having the heroes bump heads from time to time in cutscenes is a neat distraction, as are the little story beats that inform players little bit little about the lore underrunning the entire setting, but in large part, Hyper Universe is a game about staging battles without much of the fluff of stories or backgrounds or lore. Heroes exist, towers need to be stopped, be the winning team.
So, there’s little to be said in criticism of Hyper Universe’s roster. Heroes are perhaps a bit expensive, and aesthetic and cosmetic details are slightly more expensive than a lot of other similar free-to-play titles, but outside of a bit of grind locking down most of the cosmetic availability of Hyper Universe, players aren’t short of choice.
Likewise, there’s little to complain about in the frantic chaos of combat. Heroes are all visually distinct and easy to pick out even during the tangle of fights. Effects are visually flourished but sparse enough to not to overcrowd the screen. Trying to keep track of who is fighting where, and if the combat is too dangerous to wade into (or dash through) is never unclear. The minimap at the corner of the screen enables players to get a quick read of what they need to know.
Hyper Universe doesn’t do anything completely exceptional here, but nothing terrible either. Combat feels enjoyable, attacks feel weighty and punchy. Sometimes thinner characters (usually the female character models) don’t read automatically that they have the heft their abilities often have (particularly those with explosives or large-scale magic), but for the most part, attacks feel punchy and those with high defense and offense look the part.
Rule of Threes
The biggest flaw, such as there is of Hyper Universe, is that the party size is limited to three players on each side. With such a narrow focus of heroes, players have little choice but to pick where the team has needs. If both teammates have chosen a strike and assassin character, it’s left to the third to pick either support or tank to round out the team, or face the very real probability of defeat. There are ways to win regardless, but teams will often expect the slowest player to round out the team, which means players who main tank or support may find themselves locked out of their preferred role by someone who loads the character screen faster. Or those who wish to strike may find their team already has it covered.
The limited player choice option feels a bit limiting, and with only three slots to fill, the chances of getting locked out of a preferred role is twice as high as in other games in the genre. Given that, it’s perfectly plausible to go multiple games (or even entire play sessions) without ever getting to pick a preferred character or class. Which is disheartening for a lot of reasons, least of which means the player often feels like they’re going into a competitive environment without getting to put their best foot forward.
If there’s anything that weakens Hyper Universe, this is probably the Achilles’ Heel.
Mostly Other Battle Arena – Overall: 6.8 / 10
The end result is that Hyper Universe is a game that’s hard to recommend strongly. Higher probabilities of being locked out of a preferable role plus an increase of expense in getting to acquire new heroes and playstyles leaves the players in a deeper lurch than a lot of the game’s nearest neighbors. In a genre that is overstuffed with free alternatives, Hyper Universe doesn’t stand at the head of its podium. It doesn’t really do much wrong, it just doesn’t do enough right to stand strong against a great deal of pressure.
Hyper Universe is a fun game. Combat feels punchy and smart. Players who exercise patience in learning various roles will find a lot to love out of many of the characters’ skills and options. There are countless ways to play and several workable strategies. Team interplay creates wonderful experiences that can feel validating and the team feeling powerful. MOBAs excel at this, and Hyper Universe is no exception. But, for all it does well, Hyper Universe just feels little more limited. Other options, at a glance, offer fewer disappointments.
Hyper Universe is good, it’s worth trying it for sure. Just go in knowing its limits, there are a few more than you’d think at first glance.
- Wide character diversity suits many playstyles
- Arenas offer lots of approaches and pathways for players
- Heroes feel relatively balanced
- Visually striking but uncluttered
- Limited team size means hero selection is almost always peer pressured
- Cosmetics are somewhat limited and relatively expensive
- Progression is a bit slow
- In a crowded market, there are better alternatives