App Army Assemble: Hyperforma - Is this cyberpunk arcade game as clever as it looks?

Our community has their say

App Army Assemble: Hyperforma - Is this cyberpunk arcade game as clever as it looks?
| Hyperforma

Hyperforma is a cyberpunk arcade with a big mix of other genres thrown in for good measure. While it seems like a bit of an overwhelming mix at first, it's an ambitious move with some good ideas.

In practice during our review of the game we found it a bit underwhelming and confused, saying "Hyperforma is by no means a bad game, and it's got its own unique style that makes it a joy to watch. But eventually things just start to feel a little bit flat."

It's time for our App Army to have their say on it. This team of eager gamers knows their stuff, so what will they think of it? Only one way to find out.

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Jim Linford (iPhone 7)

Having booted this up I'm getting Blade Runner/The Matrix vibes from the story and something about the artwork reminds me of REZ and Tron.

You play as a hacker navigating into a cyberspace network left by the ancients. You have to hack computer cores. This is done by aiming and launching your character at the core and attacking it.

The game starts out simple enough, but later becomes more complex. The cores have different forms and patterns for you to hack, which you do by rotating the core and searching for/creating a weak spot. As the forms change and the game progresses this leads to new hazards, such as areas that reset each core's form, barriers on the cores that react to your hits, areas you bounce off, and areas that detonate and kill you.

The presentation of this game is great with a nice looking art style and fantastic music, and seems like a cyberpunk version of Arkanoid.

It has that 'just one more go' feeling to it. Though enjoyable at first, after playing it for a while I kind-of stopped. The idea is good, but the execution is lacking and it can be repetitive at times. This is a shame as I really enjoyed the presentation overall.

Roman Valerio (iPad Air, iOS 11.3)

This epic journey into cyberspace turned out to be an immensely hyper-weird, hyper-obscure and hyper-dull experience for me. Perhaps this is due to my complete lack of interest in everything related to computer networks, artificial intelligence, hacking, technobabble and alike.

The game offers some sort of tutorial, but it does not explain much and you're immediately thrown into action with little-to-no understanding of what you are required to do to progress. By the look of our hypermysterious protagonist, it remotely reminds me of the monument to Yuri Gagarin (the first person to travel into space) which is located in Moscow, Russia.

On every level you are presented with a three-dimensional figure made up of cubes and your task is to hack it, i.e. find a way to hit its core. The soundtrack is nice, the art is not bad either, but the gameplay mechanics are as old as the hills and, even with different boost and puzzle elements, the on-screen action failed to convince me enough.

Caroline Anderson (iPad Air)

First off, I think this could do with a more explanatory tutorial. I ended up restarting the game to do the tutorial again and still wasn't quite sure what to actually do. In case anyone else is in the same boat, the only control you have over your character is when to attack.

The guy is bouncing around the playing area off the walls and the bricks in the middle and when you press the attack button he stops where he is, charging directly towards the target core. The target is a block in the centre of the screen surrounded by other blocks - some breakable, some not.

You can move this construction around in 3D space and the idea is to time your attacks in order to break blocks and clear a path to take a shot at the target. Turning this also moves a red line around the walls which kills you when you hit it, resetting all of your progress in that level.

There is a lot going on at once and it is really, really hard. You unlock skills and upgrade existing ones as you progress, which does help, but I found the frustration level just too high and ended up only playing it in small bursts to avoid getting cross with it. I loved Breakout way back when and, while this shares some mechanics, the sheer difficulty level and amount of stuff going on make it much less relaxing and much more aggravating.

It's a nice idea that looks and sounds gorgeous, but the difficulty and annoyance factor get in the way too much for me. It just isn't fun.

Mark Abukoff (iPhone 7)

When I first opened this game I thought it was going to be another clone of Monument Valley. I was wrong. Hyperforma is an almost surreal, cyberpunk arcade game. I think it suffers from an incomplete tutorial, but at the same time I enjoyed the art, and the rather simple game play.

It's a bit of a call-back to the old block breaker or breakout games where you moved a paddle to direct a shot at the wall. Except this time you can rotate the wall in three dimensions. A really gorgeous game that has potential. It just needs work.

Steve Clarke

As already mentioned, there are shades of Rez and Tron going on here. The art is fantastic and the music is very nice. I really want to like the whole package, but I just can't.

The tutorial could be better, but the biggest issue I had was I found it quite boring to play. It's like Breakout updated for the modern age. You take out blocks surrounding a central core with the aim of exposing and destroying it. You've got traps to avoid which move around the walls as you rotate the blocks surrounding the core, but that's essentially it.

I like everything about Hyperforma, apart from the gameplay.

Oksana Ryan (iPad Pro)

The intro for this game looked set to give a great story and, I presumed, equally good gameplay. However, it didn't deliver as I'd anticipated. Don't get me wrong, the actual gameplay isn't too bad and it was challenging for a short time, but it didn't make sense when run alongside the storyline.

I was supposed to be 'hacking' a complex computer, but all I ended up doing was trying to break borders from around a square object. Where the hacking came in was confusing. If there wasn't a story with its elaborate graphics, then you would be left with a game that I believe would never have been released because it's not substantial enough to stand alone.

I'm sorry, but I was disappointed and confused by this game. It held promise but never delivered.

Dries Pretorius (iPad Air)

I occasionally allow myself to become obsessively consumed by certain genres or concepts, and lately it's been cyberpunk (the enthralling Technobabylon is largely to blame). Hyperforma, it seemed from the description, would be a deep cyberpunk action adventure to explore philosophical themes through innovative gameplay.

Though Hyperforma does not succeed in that endeavour, it does present an innovative take on the block breaking formula. The structure must be broken down strategically and with the help of various power-ups in order to avoid what becomes frustrating tedium as you wear it down, all while avoiding contact with red 'pong' style batons.

I can appreciate the gameplay mechanics in their complexity. There is a kaleidoscopic element to it where every action has several reactions, and it can be rewarding (and frustrating) to master the ambidextrous mechanics.

The closest comparison on my device is the fantastic Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders, a comparison which begs the question: do more moving parts necessarily result in a deeper game? Hyperforma brings its own innovations to the table and they are a hit and a miss.

Those who come for the cyberpunk wrapper might find the game hard to access, but those who are looking for a 'hardcore arcade' experience will find in this game a definitive title.

Quincy Jones (iPhone 8 Plus)

As cool as the music and art style is, the lack of a complete tutorial early on and a bit of a crazy storyline might easily turn off a lot of people.

It really seems like an awesome idea on paper, but the reality of it doesn't quite deliver on the expected experience.

If you have a lot of patience or willpower you may eventually find something wonderful here, but I just couldn't wait that long.

Paul Manchester (iPhone 5 SE)

What the hell is the game all about? I've played for a while and I still have no idea.

I'd hoped my initial bewilderment may be rewarded through progress, but the gameplay just didn't grab me or significantly evolve. I love a good block breaker game, but this I felt was lacking that element of fun and came across as a very dry experience.

You can definitely see influences here from the likes of Rez and, to be fair, graphically I have seen worse games. Overall it's confusing and uninspiring.

Ed Davis (iPhone 7)

The game is rather confusing. You're given a very loose storyline and then told to make a small, golden man hit the spinning, glowing cube in the middle of the screen. For me, if you take away the story you actually have an interesting game.

The graphics are nice and the music has an eerie feel to it, especially when played with headphones. It's a good time-waster if you have nothing else to play, but it's not a game that I can see myself coming back to again and again.

Atash Qasim (iPad Mini 4)

I absolutely loved the high quality visuals and the world building is stunning and immersive. The tutorial could have been better, but I figured it out.

The game ads another dimension to block-breaking gameplay, which I appreciated, but felt that the gameplay got a little repetitive later on as you have to keep destroying the blocks protecting the core. The power-ups make it easier to do that as you progress in the game.

Overall Hyperforma is a really polished, high-quality premium game that will appeal to hardcore players.