Game Review #493: HyperParasite (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Marcos Martin (@kr0nux)
Developer: Troglobytes Games, Hound Picked Games
Category: Action, Role-Playing, Arcade
Release Date: 4.3.2020
Buy HyperParasite from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Snatch, Pew-Pew, Repeat…
Now you can live the fantasy of being thrown into an 80s-styled adventure as a body-snatching parasite that has a grudge against all human life-forms in this rogue-lite twin-stick shooter. It’s a weird desire to have such fantasy, but I won’t judge; once you are immersed in this neon city, you won’t even care anyways. This game does an amazing job bringing back the nostalgia of the years past, as well as the difficulty of the times. It’s fun, but a bit unforgiving here and there, which, in an interesting way, makes it very addicting.
Remember when they said you could be anything? In HyperParasite, you can! Want to be a police officer with a limited amount of ammo? A firefighter swinging your axe left and right? A punk? A hobo? What? … You get the idea. You can be anything in this game. You have options to go around my friend—more than 60 of them, in fact! This diversity makes every new playthrough a new experience; no new run is ever the same. Go ahead! Conquer the neon lights to your heart’s content, and do so differently every time.
I Pity the Parasite!
For your own survival, I strongly recommend you keep on moving in this one. Strafe. Dodge. Hide—everyone is out to get you, and plenty of hazards are to be found here. You will always feel very fragile; if you are controlling a human, this might not be as scary, but your parasite form has only 1HP—poor thing. Each human brings their own attack and special moves to the fight; spread-shot, single-shot, a shopping cart, a basketball, and even the proton pack from Ghostbusters.
Every run starts you with a new random host. Sometimes you might not even want to use the human assigned to you, but fear not, you can explode that “pile of secrets” from the inside out in a gruesome and flashy fashion, and then use those slimy parasite tentacles to control another one, and be the proud owner of a brand new host, maybe even one you actually like… oh, I forgot to mention, the game will only allow you to possess the ones you have unlocked by collecting their brain and paying to develop in your super-secret hideout (that's not so secret). Feel free to store your favorite bodies to reuse later on while you are in your lair and get you an upgrade or two from the shop—why not? It all costs in-game currency, which can be obtained from slaying baddies or hidden in trash cans, because it is a video-game after all and that is how these kind of things work.
Don’t Try This at Home
Explore the night life, the sewers, and many other locations I won’t spoil, but I do encourage you to investigate random pathways and key-requiring secrets, explode cars and cause chaos wherever you go, or just break random objects for loot—you’ll be surprised with the abilities of an alien parasite. Please only perform these actions inside the game, I’m not actually advising you to go out and start whacking a garbage can with a stick to see what comes out of it… probably a rat or something.
Fun fact: did you know parasites from other planets can teleport to previously-visited areas? The more you know… Another fun fact: they cannot hold items, only their host can; so if while playing this neon fun-fest you are carrying any items and possessing one of the spine-having beings at the same time, you will drop the item once your host is dead and gone—you can always pick it up again once you find a new home for your parasite, don’t panic. Walking over the blue areas where it looks like the ground has been shattered and doing an “alien dance” will grant you three options for upgrades that are only good until your run is over. You can only pick one, so pick wisely.
They Want Your Guts
All sorts of randomness are to be enjoyed. Your dodge-roll doesn’t take you very far, but it can break stuff. Boss battles escalate quickly, and you get the bullet-hell of your life in a heartbeat—hard, intense, and addicting, just how I like it… that sounded a lot better in my head, but I won’t delete it...
Environmental hazards can be used to your advantage if you plan strategically, and the auto-aim feature the game offers is quite decent. You’ll also find out soon enough that not many authorities are after you, except for some cops and firefighters maybe… Even when you find a SWAT van, it is the lowlifes that come out of it to chase you. They want your guts… I’m not even gonna think about how parasite guts look…
Okay, I’m feeling nice and I’ll spoil you another location, even after I said I wouldn't: The drive in movie theater. This part is interesting and mildly shameless, even more so when it presents you with a hobo and a punk rocker going at it... old-school drive-in and chill style, oh yeah! 10/10 will break up their fun again… I’m an evil alien, what do you want me to do?!
80s A/V Club
What a sublime synth-wave soundtrack! It holds your hand and carries you along to its pumping beat; I could almost hear Aqua singing “Back to the 80s.” Each area gets its own music, and it might be good to mention that spending too long exploring a level could make the music a bit repetitive after a while. A good trick I found to deal with this is to keep shooting and punching things and make your own music. Remix the synthesizer with the sound of your bullets!
Graphically, it is the appropriate mix of top-down view to emphasize on those gorgeous neon lights, and a good measure of pixel-art menus and HUD to keep your runs feeling extra retro—plus, its cool to see your “possession” in 16-bit smiling back at you. Even some cut scenes in HyperParasite take you back in time, visually speaking… I never understood the story though, or maybe I was too eager to jump into the game that I forgot to listen.
So far, this review probably has made little sense, but it’s a decent reflection of HyperParasite “the game” so far. I don't think the game was made to make sense, but rather, to have fun; and it does a great job accomplishing this task. My recommendation: Don't try to understand it, enjoy it for what it is instead. Fun is promised in this title.
Buy HyperParasite from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*A game code was provided for review purposes