Hyper Flight – Game Review

“Hyper Flight is a unique Sci-Fi flight simulation experience that will have you speeding across the galaxy in style. Good mechanics and a style that separates itself from others in the genre makes for a very promising title on full release.”

This is an Early Access review. The game is subject to change, and the review reflects the current state of the game.

Gameplay

Prior to Hyper Flight, I have had almost zero experience with flight simulation games. Heck, the closest I’ve played to a legitimate vehicular based racing/simulation game was probably Forza Horizon way back in 2012. I knew the controls were probably going to be tough, but my gamer ego got the best of me. Additionally, I started out with the keyboard controls which probably didn’t help me (the developer recommends a gamepad).

Initially, it was tough. I was struggling to get through even basic obstacles. I decided it was time to be realistic and play through the game’s various training courses. Boy, did that help! If you’re not a flight-sim-veteran, or have a strong grasp of how the control scheme for these types of games work, I’d highly recommend playing through at least the first training course.

Once you’ve made it through and have the controls down pat, you’ll be soaring through the levels (at least a bit) more graciously. You’ll probably definitely be running into some things for your first hour of gameplay. One mechanic that I absolutely love in this game has to do with just this. So many games in this genre handle crashing like so: Hit object. Explode. Respawn at start.

In Hyper Flight, when you damage certain parts of your ship too much, those parts will break off. You’re still able to function and fly, but at a penalty for damaging your ship. You’re not immediately and harshly punished for crashing, instead you’re penalized, giving you a greater sense of urgency as you continue to fly through the level. That’s good game design in my book.

Aesthetic

Going into this review, I was admittedly not optimistic about the cell-shaded art style that I saw in the games preview screenshots and videos. I was very pleasantly surprised when I booted up the game with the best quality settings. The art style fits the atmosphere of the game shockingly well.

The different unlockable ships all have cool designs. While there are only ten to choose from at this time, there is enough variety between them to make up for the lack of options. None of them look too similar, and each has its own appeal.

While the art style and design of the overall game are pleasing, there is one glaring detail that makes the game seem less polished than it actually is – the blur. Around the edges of your screen, there is a sort of gaussian blur that makes it very hard to see things. When switching to the lower quality versions of the game, it even makes certain things unreadable.

Sound

At the current time of this review, the game offers very little as far as a soundtrack goes. All vehicular games, in my opinion, need some sort of backing track to keep you pumped up while you’re playing. The developer noted that music will be coming soon, which is great to hear, as the game would feel so much more alive than it currently does.

Replay Value

Various different game modes are offered to cater to whatever you like doing the most.

  • Enjoy racing against the clock and trying to improve on your fastest lap through a map? Time trials are for you!
  • Need to brush up on your flight skills? Training mode will be there to guide you through the game’s controls and mechanics. You’ll be on the path of flying excellence in no time!
  • Feel the need for speed? Unlock the racing license and get started flying against CPU opponents who will give you a run for your money.

Although Hyper Flight has just recently been released onto Early Access at the time of this review, it has plenty for you to play and improve upon. Instead of a generic “racing” game, it focuses on allowing you to master your craft and improve flight skills all throughout the game.

Story/Campaign

Currently there are 5 playable planets (out of what looks to be many more to come!) to choose from within the game’s level select screen. This menu itself and actually fun and inventive. It’s built like the solar system and allows you to choose your planet or moon to travel to.

I really enjoyed this nice little touch. Menus in most indie games can be dull and boring, and I always appreciate the extra mile taken to make them fun and interactive. One thing that does concern me though, is the sheer amount of, what looks to be, playable levels/maps to come. For the most part, I appreciate a variety of levels in a game, but it looks there will be close to – if not over – 100 different playable levels. Creating that many maps while also trying to make them all unique would be a daunting task for any seasoned game designer.

Overall

Hyper Flight already looks like a clear winner after having only just been released on Early Access. The potential for an incredible Sci-Fi flight game has been set with the current version, and I truly believe it will only improve from here on out.

The developer seems passionate about his game. I have no doubt that within the next year it will become something great. It simply needs some minor bug patches and more content. Be on the lookout!