In an age where rougelites are becoming increasingly popular thanks to Dead Cells and Hades’ recent success. HyperParasite does an exceptional job of standing out from the crowd with its unique parasite mechanics and diverse abilities. However, it fails to impress with lazy presentation and a flawed progression system that will leave you frustrated.
HyperPrasite opens up with the president of the united states’ “Ray Gun,” delivering an emergency briefing. Informing the nation about a parasite that is attempting to possess him and release a nuclear bomb. Ray Gun then declares that all civilians should take to the streets to stop the parasite from taking over. Armed with trollies, newspapers, and anything else they can find, it’s these civilians that make Hyperparasite memorable.
The core mechanic of HyperParasite is about possessing different bodies to gain access to their unique abilities. And it’s this mechanic that makes HyperParasite stand out from the rest. With the added thrill of swapping from character to character, no two runs feel the same. And the ability to adapt to every situation gives you endless options on how to take on the next set of enemies. This mechanic has me constantly coming back for more because I know that every time I start a run, it will be different from the last with new abilities and weapons to try out.
HyperParasites characters all play differently with exciting weapons and special attacks, from a fire breathing dragon to a slam dunk shockwave. Making it a joy to find out what crazy move the next character I crawl inside will do. Still, it’s worth mentioning that while the range of abilities is broad and creative, only four females appear on the roster. And it would have been nice to see a more diverse range of genders represented here.
Even though I enjoyed trying the different abilities, an absurd amount of grinding is required to unlock new characters. Each time you take a new DNA strain back to the shop, you need to pay a certain amount of credits depending on the character’s quality to unlock them. This is where the painful grind starts because of how strict the game is with the number of credits it hands out.
In my first few runs, I earned about 100 credits before I would end up dying to the boss after I was overwhelmed with locked characters. And some of the unlockable characters in the store would cost up to 3000 credits. This meant that I had to spend a few hours in the first area of the game. Until I had enough characters unlocked to defeat the first boss, however, the boss does drop around 1000 credits. This means that unlocking characters becomes a lot easier once you have enough characters to get past the first level. And you might even have so spare change for some items.
Fortunately, if you find yourself stuck in the opening area for longer than you can cope, the game has an easy mode that allows you to jump in with all characters unlocked. And is a great way to experience all the late-game characters and progress to the other levels. I also found this super helpful in deciding what characters I wanted to spend my credits on next as I could try them out before committing to the purchase.
HyperParasite is brutally difficult, with bosses throwing locked character after locked character at your hopeless parasite form. As you pray for one of the few characters you have unlocked to appear. You will repeatedly watch lengthy runs fall to pieces in a few seconds because of one mistake. Only to end up doing it all over again. But for me, the challenge never felt unfair and never pushed me away. It just ended up pulling me in deeper. I always found myself saying one more run after dying, only to play for hours.
Unfortunately, due to the insane amount of grinding required in the early hours of the game. The soundtrack fast becomes repetitive and annoying but does pick up a bit in a couple of the later levels. HyperParasite also failed to impress visually as assets are copy and pasted around, making the environments feel very similar. And the game’s default low pixel resolution setting looks jarring and made everything a bit harder to see; fortunately, the game offers a higher pixel resolution setting. That is a lot clearer and comfortable on the eyes, but the 3d models leave a bit to be desired.
However, for what HyperParasite lacks in presentation and progression, its unique gameplay ideas and exciting abilities make every run feel different enough to want to keep coming back for more, and it will have you muttering, “Just one more run” for hours.