HyperParasite Switch Review – Natural Selection is a Parasite
A natural part of games and nature is that in order for games and organisms both to survive, they have to adapt to their environment. HyperParasite takes that idea of adapting and centralizes it to the core of the gameplay, stealing enemy bodies and controlling them like meat puppets against each other.
Unfortunately, this parasite hasn’t adapted quite enough and has some critical weaknesses. A roguelike that combines body snatching and world domination, HyperParasite is a game that at first glance seems to be a fun experience, but it can lead to frustration in the long grind that it expects from its players.
The game starts out with you having access to three enemy types, which is good enough to get you started, but you have to unlock the other enemy types in a very specific way. In order to gain the ability to unlock an enemy type, you have to kill an Elite enemy and obtain their brain, which you can use to spend currency on unlocking their ability to be taken over. I think this is the biggest design flaw of the whole system, where the game takes a major misstep and shoots itself in the foot.
The actual gameplay is super fun and dodging and using different enemy abilities and hopping between bodies feels frantic and fast-paced, but the real place where it slows down is when you have no bodies to snatch and are stuck shooting at the enemies with the Parasite, who does almost no damage and dies in one hit unless you give yourself another life which honestly feels like a waste of an upgrade.
This then proceeds to further multiply the issues when you finally get the next act, and enemies have way more health and kill you in basically one hit and then you can’t absorb any of them, making you have to play perfectly until you can find an Elite. If you can’t do that, you get no progress, leading to a very frustrating grinding loop that sometimes can waste entire runs of progress only because of how the unlock system works.
This is further impacted by the fact that there is only one boss per act, which means the repetitiveness combined with the grinding becomes very frustrating very quickly, especially if you die early. There are ways to skip past bosses, but the fact the bosses give you so much money kind of requires it, but they also randomly spawn enemies which can also lock you out sometimes.
The game controls fine, but the actual controls being stuck to only the bumpers ended up making my fingers tired at points. The upgrades the game presents let you enhance your Lives, Attack, or Health with slight variations that are randomized, as well as abilities that give your character elemental damage and other small effects. Although you can only have a few at a time, and I wish there was a way to choose which ones you want to get rid of.
The enemies are interesting enough, but they are often just different flavors of projectiles and melee, but I really enjoyed being able to hop between bodies and wreak havoc.
Without the brakes applied to unlocking characters, I can see a great game muddled up by just a few mistakes. If the developers wanted to change it, I would say make it so you spend money on upgrading the enemy units when you take them over rather than having to unlock them in the first place.
HyperParasite itself is solid enough without locking it behind slowdown mechanics, and if there is a sequel, just a few changes would make me really excited to try another version of the game. This is enjoyable for a cheaper indie game, but just keep in mind the grind and you can find some real enjoyment in the combat. A good experience held back by some design decisions.
This Parasite can adapt to succeed, it just hasn’t quite adapted enough yet.
HyperParasite Review provided by Nintendo Link
Developer: Troglobytes Games
Release Date: Apr 3, 2020
Game Size: 2.1 GB
Gameplay is fun and responsive
The game is built around grabbing enemies and recycling bodies and that makes it fast and frenetic.
Mini-Bosses add a bit of variety and since you can absorb them you get a surge of power from getting them
Unlocking new enemies becomes increasingly frustrating on a slow grind
Bosses are always the same
The Parasite itself is kind of useless without a body, making later acts very difficult