“Your space brakes are out.” It’s an impossibly efficient piece of storytelling. You’re in an intergalactic vehicle, and you can’t slow down. Nothing more is needed.
The title, by comparison, is a misnomer. The speed might be beyond your influence, but the act of manoeuvring your craft never is. Shift your finger in any direction anywhere on the screen and the eponymous hypership will move accordingly.
That you need never obscure anything important is vital to the success of this port, originally released on Xbox Live’s Indie Games service.
That your ship movement is perfectly calibrated is Hypership Out of Control's other vital ingredient. Responsive without being twitchy, it means any mistakes cannot be blamed on the game.
Faster la vista
Despite the title’s suggestion of speed, it starts remarkably slowly, though it’s not long before your ship is accelerating through a starfield decorated with coins, power-ups, and obstacles.
Your points tally increases as the pace picks up, and you’ll get more for destroying objects and enemies as well as collecting coins.
After each wave your maximum speed increases, upping the ante as you frantically weave between meteors and through narrow gaps.
Each new wave brings fresh hazards, though you’ll occasionally be given a little help.
Among the piles of coins (often tastefully arranged into patterns that spell out words like ‘DIE’) you’ll notice pick-ups which can slow the pace, provide a temporary shield, or turn your ship’s feeble gun into an almighty laser of death.
Any time you find yourself overwhelmed, you can double-tap the screen to call upon a smart bomb that obliterates everything else within view.
There are ten waves to beat, which may not seem many, but it’s a heck of a challenge to even reach the final section, let alone survive it. Do so, and you might find the Hardcore or Super Speed modes more to your tastes.
Alternatively, there’s the excellent Coin Down, which often forces you into risky flying to replenish your ever-depleting cash total. Let it drain completely, and it’s Game Over. There’s a reverse option for each mode, too.
Aside from the immaculate controls, there are myriad little touches that make Hypership so compelling. The difficulty level is tuned perfectly, allowing you to get a little further with every turn.
The scoring system is clever, too, with a multiplier that increases for every 100 coins you collect, rapidly boosting your score for every action, whether it be collecting a power-up or blasting a large meteor into oblivion.
Even something like the ability to choose from six ship designs is a pleasing addition. Each craft is fundamentally identical, meaning this is simply to cater for personal aesthetic preference.
Meanwhile, the retro-styled graphics are instantly appealing, and – perhaps more importantly – ensure a wonderful clarity to the action. The similarly old-fashioned music and effects are charming, too.Hypership Out of Control is, as it was on XBLIG, a very fine game indeed. And in the relocation process it appears to have found a new home which suits it even better than its former abode.