Ouch! I just got done playing a marathon session of Rinikulous Games’ Hyper Beam (out now, free), and my thumbs ache from all the frenzied twiddling, twisting and contorting they had to do to top my previous high-score. I may be sore but I’m already itching to mash the retry button and start a new game. Hyper Beam is so fun and so addictive that it’s hard to put down for long.
Set in the midst of a raging space battle, this gripping twin-stick survival game puts you in concurrent control of two orbular ships linked together by an energy beam, and pits you against an endless onslaught of enemy waves. As with all the best arcade-style games, the objective is simple: survive as long as you can while racking up kills with your beam for a high-score.
Hyper Beam’s gameplay is perfectly summed up by its tagline, “Dodge. Destroy. Get Hyper.” As enemies pour onto the screen from all sides, you’ve got to avoid letting them or their projectiles hit your orbs while attacking back with your beam. If either of your ships suffers a hit, the link between them is severed and you’re left utterly defenseless, which leads to some excruciatingly tense moments where even the slightest lapse in concentration or slip of the thumb spells insta-Game Over.
Destroying enemies fills up a meter on the top right of the screen. Once it hits maximum capacity, you can double tap the screen to — as the game puts it — GET HYPER! This temporarily transforms your beam into a devastating weapon capable of carving through droves of enemies at once. Since you spend a lot of your time in Hyper Beam narrowly and nervously dodging death, unleashing this powerful special attack always feels incredibly badass and cathartic.
The longer you survive, the harder the game gets, with larger and more powerful enemy types joining the fray. Some spurt missiles or lasers, others pursue you mercilessly around the screen, and there’s even one nasty sucker that explodes into dozens of shrapnel-like fragments when hit. Making it through all 5 ‘sectors’ unscathed (thus unlocking the endless mode) is a matter of figuring out these enemies’ attack patterns and memorizing how best to destroy them. This involves a LOT of trial and error and practise, but it’s SO worth it.
In addition to an endless mode, Hyper Beam features quite a few unlockables to strive toward acquiring, including multiple color schemes and five different types of beams, each with their own unique ‘hyper mode’ styles. If you’re anything like me though, what will really keep you hooked on the game is trying to climb to the top of its fiercely competitive leaderboards. And on that note, I’m off to see if I can’t better my high-score!
Hyper Beam is so fun and so addictive that you will play it until your thumbs cramp up from exhaustion. And then some! Seriously, this game has it all: incredibly gripping gameplay, flawless controls, stylish visuals, an electrifying soundtrack, and a burgeoning community of high-score chasers to compete against. I can’t recommend it enough.