Space Invaders is a pretty good place to start if you’re looking for inspiration for your mobile-based shooter, and that’s exactly the course of action that development studio CatfishBlues Games has taken.
Hyperwave may be coated in trippy visuals and feature a pumping electronic soundtrack, but underneath the eclectic and eye-catching presentation you’ll find the same DNA that was present in Taito’s seminal blaster all those years ago.
You control a ship anchored to the bottom of the screen and can only move horizontally. Enemies stream down from above in waves with the intention of damaging either your ship or the delicate energy barrier which resides below it.
Thankfully, unlike in Space Invaders, the ship you control in Hyperwave has lasers that you can aim. Using an on-screen slider pad you can adjust the angle of your shot, making it possible to move in one direction and return fire in another.
Levels are divided into waves of enemies, and there’s a boss to face at the end of each level. Although the gameplay sounds simplistic, the challenge rises quite sharply.
Some enemies can withstand concentrated fire and will only surrender after an intense barrage. However, all the time you’re doing this other foes are drifting down the screen with deadly intent.
The only way to succeed against these seemingly unstoppable opponents is to collect as many power-up icons as possible. Some of these increase the power of your shots or enable optional weapons - such as lock-on missiles or drone ships - but others execute unique special attacks that drastically tip the odds in your favour.
Regardless of their effect, these items quickly become the difference between life and death in the harsh world of Hyperwave.
The game certainly doesn’t put a foot wrong when it comes to visual presentation. Powered by the Unity Engine, the game’s neon-infused graphics are bright and distinctive, and it’s possible to keep track of individual ships even when the screen is awash with enemies.
The music is somewhat less successful, and quickly outstays its welcome.
However, the biggest problem with Hyperwave is that it quickly becomes repetitive. Although you’ll face a wide range of foes with different attack patterns, the core gameplay never really changes.
Of course, the same could be said of Space Invaders, but somehow Hyperwave lacks that vital spark which keeps you glued to your screen for hours on end.
Another annoyance is that Hyperwave asks you for an in-app purchase to boost your number of continues - quite a cheeky gesture when you consider that the game is a paid-for release in the first place.
Hyperwave’s dazzling graphics will no doubt result in a few impulse purchases, and shooter addicts might find something here to keep them busy, but the game simply isn’t inventive or engaging enough to be deemed a portable classic.
If you’re hankering for some good old-fashioned blasting action then stick with the likes of Raiden Legacy or Shogun: Bullet Hell Shooter.