Hypercharge Unboxed (PC)
Hypercharge Unboxed has been doing the rounds on Steam & consoles for a while now, but with an upcoming story mode and Steam Deck compatibility adding more portability next to the Nintendo Switch, the game is looking to refresh interest. Does it actually do enough to stay out of the toybox? Let’s find out.
There isn’t much of a story to this Small Soldiers style shooter, but there is a reason why Max Ammo is constantly telling you to protect the generators. Unfortunately that reason, and who or why they are being attacked in the first, is currently unavailable. There is a story mode currently in development that will answer all these questions and give an insight into the lore, but that coop adventure is still awaiting release – its said to be a free update at least.
That leaves you pretty much with multiplayer, this can be played well enough offline with bots backing you up as the difficulty scales. Progress carries over between offline/online so any progress done with either way will carry over to the numerous cosmetics for your chosen figure, and the equipment and stages up for grabs as well. You get the usual deathmatch & infection modes, but its likely the wave modes that will see you returning for the coop challenge and difficulty increase, as well as the surprising inclusion of a free mode that lets you explore the maps to your hearts content.
Without a doubt the game gets its presentation right, nailing the 90’s toy look it sets out for. You customisable character carries an action figure design that looks just right, with enemies consisting of old school toys like army men and spinners, and boss characters taking on the form of big robot and dinosaur figures. It’s not just the characters within the world either, the environments you’ll battle through are also fitting and remind me of the likes of Toy Commander – just way more detailed. Everything from rooms around the home to gardens and toy stores, there’s a lot to see and the little details make exploring every nook & cranny an appealing choice between rounds.
Audio is also decent, each figure gets enough character to make them stand out during a fight, and Max Ammo himself is never overshadowed or lost in the soundscape. So what about performance? The game doesn’t really seem to ask for much, or at least that’s the impression I get from the Core2Quad/GT 640 minimums anyway, and it is somewhat borne out by my PC (R51600/16GB/RTX 20180 ti) not breaking a sweat at 4K max settings for 60fps. Should be easy enough to tweak and still look good given the games style, upcoming support for Steam Deck compatibility may also give an idea of playability on lower end systems.
Whilst there are few modes on offer that change up the parameters of the game, this is in essence still just a shooter. One good aspect right off the bat is that the game allows you to switch between first & third person depending on your preference. The wave modes in particular let the game flex a little as some strategy is added on top of the decent gunplay. You can build a few defenses, with more unlocked a syou play, with the stages also having unique structures like army men tank traps & barb wire. All these cost currency which can be had by dispatching foes and collecting the dropped coins or seeking out packs (give you a large coin boost) These can be in hard to reach places, just like the generator batteries, so you can build booster jumps to get there. You’ll likely feel as if you don’t have enough currency, you can share with allies if you do, but that’s probably because you gonna spend it all protecting those generator.
After several hours you’ll have probably unlocked most stages, characters and a chunk of the cosmetics, tho some can have brutal challenges to unlock, you’ll likely have your interest waning a little. Fear not, as this game excels when playing coop with friends and goes some way to making that a possibility in any way that it can. Not only is online available, but also 4 player split screen surprisingly, you can also do that same split screen using the Steam sharing system which will allow online friends to join as a local player on your system. Plenty of ways to play with others which should keep things interesting enough in the long run
Hypercharge Unboxed is the nostalgic toy shooter you never knew you needed, mixing 90’s action figures & toys with strategic tower defence style action gameplay. The only glaring omission is the Story mode has yet to arrive, but the game tries its best with the multiplayer to keep you engaged as there is a lot to play through and unlock – especially with the many ways, including 4 player split-screen, of getting you to play with friends. A nostalgic gem of a shooter that also serves the additional purpose of allowing you to show your kids just how much cooler your toys were.
The Small Soldiers or Toy Story game you hoped for over 20 years ago as a kid has finally arrived.
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