I've been excited to try out Hypergate for a while, as a long time Freespace fan I'm always itching to play more space combat games. It's now official out, with Linux support.
Humanity's warlike ways have continued into the space age. In Hypergate, you play a new recruit of the Novan Interplanetary Alliance---and your side is losing a war that could cost more than your lives alone. Master space fighter combat amid a crumbling Alliance. Fight in a single-player campaign, or build your own battles for single-player mode or for local gameplay with friends. Upgrade your ships and weapons. And most importantly, do not disengage your shields or engines.
Note: Key provided by the developer.
In terms of performance, it's great. I've not had any issues there, it's been smooth sailing along. There's not a lot you can tweak though apart from resolution, zoom-blur, FXAA and the HUD.
Keeping in mind this was made by a very small team (only one developer I am aware of) I'm still quite underwhelmed by it overall. I fully get what they were going for but the game-play just doesn't excite me at all.
The game-play is both short and incredibly basic, to the point of it even missing the ability to roll which I find odd in such a 3D space combat sim. I'm not sure if I'm missing something (quite possible, more coffee needed) but the option just isn't there. It seems to be designed around your orientation always being on the same level as everything else, especially since it auto-rolls you after you've flown around a bit. The auto-roll feature is a nuisance too, often getting in the way of your aim.
Additionally, the combat is also overly simple. There's no real need to be a skillful pilot here, since the game does most of the work for you. Get an enemy in your generously sized Reticle and fire since it will auto-lock even your basic weapon. I can understand locking for missiles but for standard bullets to auto-lock and follow enemies feels far too easy. It sucks any challenge away from it, sadly.
I've been playing it on the highest possible difficulty setting and outside of a few deaths that were completely my own fault, there's simply no challenge. Taking down big enemy ships? Easy. Destroy the few turrets they have—boom, done. It doesn't help that even when there's tons of enemy fighters, no one seems to really care you exist. I don't think I was ever chased down, honestly I felt a little invisible.
There's also a mission where it introduces you to your short-range EMP, for taking down enemy missiles locked onto you. Nice idea but underutilized. Through that entire mission, it happens once.
It's missing some basic touches too. Your cockpit for example has a flight stick clearly visible, yet it never moves. If you're going to show it, do something with it. You barely even need manage your speed as well, since there's only three settings: normal, slow or boost.
It pains me to say it, but I got really quite bored. There was a particular moment in the game where I thought, okay now it's about to get interesting! An big unknown alien ship has appeared and within one minute flat I had already taken it down by myself. None of the action feels like it has anything to it. I rarely ever used my missiles as well, the only times I did was to simply speed things up a little because I was bored of it and this is the highest difficulty possible.
Even the upgrade system falls flat as the upgrades for your weapons, shield and coolant really aren't that different. It's the most basic upgrade system it could have done:
The gamepad support was a little messy. Both the Logitech F310 and Steam Controller need big improvements. By default, menu navigation happened sporadically with the stick but also with the right trigger, inverted being on was actually off and so on.
Even with some adjustments, some parts of the menu navigate backwards with a gamepad, it's as if some places respect it being inverted and others don't. Definitely want to see some improvements there.
Overall, I can't really find anything that I genuinely liked about it as nothing really stood out. The voice acting is okay, graphically some backgrounds are somewhat impressive while the rest is so-so, the action just isn't exciting…you get the idea. Since I consider myself a big fan of such games, this makes me sad.
Find it on Steam.