Hyperlight, a universal app for both the iPhone and iPad by developer CatfishBlues Games, is a brilliant pastiche of modern Geometry Wars style gameplay and classic arcade games. If you are a fan of either the renegade space-shooting bestseller or old infinity style pizza-joint button-mashers, you owe it to yourself to pick up Hyperlight—especially at its one-off $1 price.
How’s the Gameplay?
At first glance, Hyperlight appears to be just another Geometry Wars clone: And for the most part I suppose it is. You control a spaceship lost in a single grid of the galaxy, surrounded by brightly colored enemies that swarm, parade, and waggle their way around you in an attempt to end your journey through the final frontier. As you zoom about you’re free to pick up extra guns, set off barriers, and replenish your “super-mode”—which is called Faster Than Light speed here. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is. But is familiarity a bad thing?
“Heck ‘naw!” to be colloquial. Where Hyperlight shines is in its small innovations, starting with the way the game is controlled. Instead of using messy onscreen joysticks, the game has you tilting your iDevice to control your ship: A game mechanic I like infinitely more here than in the original. Likewise, there are whole nebulae of achievements, extras, and power-ups for the user to collect, creating an impressive amount of depth to the game. Add a tasty difficulty and two different game modes, and what you have is a piece of iOS gaming art.
How’s the Graphics?
I’m a huge sucker for neon in an art style, and in that respect, Hyperlight delivers. The design elements therein are reminiscent of things like Geometry Wars, but I never once felt like the game was a direct rip-off. Rather, Hyperlight pays homage not only to its predecessors, but to the genre of space-shooters itself. Sprites are brilliantly colored and animated, and the tiny additions (like ripples in the grid when you go Faster Than Light Speed) create a blissfully futuristic feel. I cannot speak highly enough of the art work here, and with such good gameplay to match, Hyperlight is quite an impressive bargain.
Will I Get Bang for my Buck?
Beyond a doubt, Hyperlight offers an immense amount of gameplay. A user with the game in infinite mode could spend hours blasting baddies and collecting goodies, not to mention the also available arcade mode. At a single buck in the AppStore, Hyperlight is richly complex game that harkens back to classics with copious improvements, making this a quality buy and a great value.
Hyperlight iPhone app [ iTunes Link ] requires iOS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
The iPhone app review rating: