HyperDot (Tribe Games 2020, PC / XBox, Singleplayer / Multiplayer, English)
HyperDot plays like a bullethell game or arcade shooter – but we can only dodge and evade! We control a colorful dot in a circular arena where other geometric shapes are after us. They come from all sides and we dodge them as best as we can. The visuals reminded me of watching tiny water creatures under a microscope way back in biology class, somehow. In any case, our geometric opponents differ from one another in speed and movement patterns, so squares always move in a straight line, triangles follow us for a few moments, stars are a bit jumpy, and so on.
Here is the official trailer:
Skill and Reflexes
We gradually get to know the different movement patterns in the short levels, with the difficulty slowly increasing. But not only the “enemy types” vary, but also the size and speed of the dot we are in control of. Add to that the size and nature of the arena, which can also be dark, which tests your reflexes even more, or the arena is icy and slippery and challenges your skill and control. Most of the time we win by simply surviving a certain amount of time without colliding with anything, but sometimes we need to stay in certain zones or we have to collect a certain number of items that randomly pop up in the arena.
By mixing and varying all of these elements, HyperDot always remains challenging and exciting, but above all, it’s a lot of fun! I’m not very good at games of skill and I get frustrated with them quickly. HyperDot circumvents this by making the levels short and creating the kind of tricky situations that are inciting and motivate you to try the level a ninth or tenth time because the feeling of success afterwards is so rewarding. There is a Steam Achievement for failing ten times in a row in the same level and well, I “earned” that one quite early. But after that level was done, I wanted to play one more, just one and before I knew it, it was five or six levels more …
Accessibility, Multiplayer and Level-Editor
For the colorful bustle not to become confusing, each type of opponent is assigned a clear shape and color. Also, you can choose the color of your dot at the beginning of each game. On top of that, HyperDot offers several settings when it comes to accessibility. There are two modes with high contrast (one with a dark background, the other with a light background) and a mode adapted to color blindness. In addition, the background animations and the screen shake can be switched off if desired.
HyperDot can be controlled using a mouse, a keyboard or gamepad, but also by using Tobii Eye Tracking. Since I do not have the appropriate hardware, I was unfortunately unable to try out how well this works. As a formerly pure PC child, I felt most comfortable with the mouse out of habit.
In multiplayer mode, up to four players can play against each other, the winner is whoever is the last to survive or who is the first to complete the respective tasks of the level. I can imagine that HyperDot will spice up some couch parties. Especially since there is the soundtrack, too, which consists of really nice electronic music, that adapts to the rhythm of the projectile waves from time to time, but never creates additional hecticness. It’s more like a soothing, sometimes catchy backdrop that helps you focus.
If you want to experiment a little or feel like a special challenge, you can create your own levels in the editor. There is no way to share self-created levels or to download those from other players, yet. It would not surprise me, however, if such a feature was added later.