Hyperlight, a tilt-based arcade game from CatfishBlues Games, is available from the app store. Taking its cues from favorites like Tilt To Live, Hyperlight adds a few twists that make it a wholly unique and fairly satisfying experience.
- Great neon graphics
- Upbeat soundtrack
- Spot-on tilt controls
- GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements
- Variety of enemies, power-ups, and boss battles
- Unforgiving difficulty
- Over-tilting to enter FTL mode is not a great mechanic in practice
- Enemies will manifest where you currently are, killing you instantly
Hyperlight contains 2 game modes: Arcade and Infinity. Arcade is broken up into sections by levels, allowing you to start from deeper into the game rather than have to start over from the beginning each time. Infinity serves as an endless option. You play as a small rocket ship that must maneuver around a neon grid full of neon enemies. Some are passive and just create obstructions; others will actually hunt you down. There are a half-dozen normal enemies and a handful of special, dimensional, and temporal enemies, too, each with their own attack modes and characteristic maneuvers. You’ll also engage in some serious multi-phase boss battles that test both your avoidance and attack skills. To assist you, there are power-up boxes to snag that might create a sphere of destruction, summon a protective crystal, fire lasers, or fill your Faster-Than-Light (FTL) bar, among other things. You can activate gates that destroy any enemies that try to cross through. With fuel in your FTL bar, you can tilt your device beyond a normal gradient to enter FTL mode, where you glow brightly, move faster, and destroy any enemies that you come into contact with. This power is limited and will drain your bar as you use it. Reducing the tilt gradient will take you back out of FTL mode and allow you to conserve any remaining power. As you progress, the screen gets crazy with hordes of enemies and a smattering of power-up boxes. Just one touch of an enemy when not in FTL mode will kill you. Survival is difficult, but possible with practice. It all makes for a manic and exciting adventure.
Visually, the game looks great, as the glowing objects and multiple colors add an appealing element to the game, as do the cosmic backdrops. The soundtrack is pretty chill when viewing menus, but switches to rocking anthems to match the frenzied gameplay. Controls are just as tight as Tilt To Live or Starball, two of our favorite tilt-based avoidance games. Our only complaint is that accurately finding the point where you enter FTL mode can be difficult, as failing to tilt far enough can kill you instantly and failing to reduce tilt effectively can unnecessarily drain the bar. Also, tilting the screen to enter and remain in FTL can make it difficult to see what is happening on-screen. We’d like to see another method of entering FTL mode implemented in the game. While over-tilting is a novel idea, we didn’t like it in practice. Even a simple corner button to enter and leave FTL mode would be welcome.
Replay value is pretty good if you can get past the awkwardness of over-tilting often. There are GameCenter leaderboards to climb for each mode, as well as a couple dozen achievements to earn. With universal support, you can enjoy playing on any device you choose without any loss in visual sharpness. For $0.99, Hyperlight is a 4-Dimple surprise that’s worth checking out.