Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S players get to see the release of Hyper Shapes, the latest game to be released under the JanduSoft umbrella.
It’s advertised as a “minimalist experience”, and after playing it, I can assure you that there can be no claims of false advertising. Hyper Shapes’ presentation is incredibly minimalistic. The main ‘character’ is a purple square. The ‘bosses’ are usually a giant circle or triangle of varying colour. There’s a blue projectile that can be used to damage stuff. The background is grey… you get the idea.
I never thought I’d be able to describe what an entire game looks like from start to finish in about 50 words, but they say there’s a first time for everything.
It works incredibly well though. Hyper Shapes is such a visually appealing and clean game. Colours pop against the game’s grey background and projectiles stand out from one another – something which is so important for a game that essentially boils down to dodging all manner of attacks. Meanwhile, the soundtrack only serves to elevate the action on screen and is a welcome addition.
The gameplay echoes these stylistic choices. There’s no story in Hyper Shapes; no dialogue, no real instruction even. The only thing you’re told is that you can aim and shoot your little blue ball. You’ll need to work out the rest.
You’ll quickly learn that clues are given through colour, that yellow signals vulnerability and pink signals a swift end. You’ll find that each boss has a number of attack patterns that you’ll need to identify and overcome. And even though they may look the same, you’ll find that each boss offers a different (and usually much tougher) challenge than the last.
Does it work? Absolutely. There’s immense satisfaction in learning these attack patterns and overcoming them, especially after dying to a boss thirty or forty times (yes, I am that bad at these types of games).
Speaking of which, the difficulty curve for Hyper Shapes is just right too. There are a few difficulty spikes here and there, but the game never really descends into the realms of insanity. Again, the focus is on giving you a pattern and asking you to learn it, not just pumping a wall of bullets at you and asking you to dodge them all.
Of course, a game is only as good as its controls. There are only really two in Hyper Shapes – shoot and dash – but both feel top notch. The game feels smooth and responsive, and your little purple square handles brilliantly. It puts the onus on you – the square is capable of moving and changing directions on a whim, so you’ll need to go out and do it.
It’s perhaps a bit too short, but that’s really the only criticism that can be pinned against Hyper Shapes. Once you’ve bested the nine bosses, there’s nothing really left to do except for mopping up the rest of the achievements. It’s understandable given the small design team behind the game, but even something like a simple timer would have gone a long way to addressing the game’s short length.
The short length shouldn’t put you off though. Hyper Shapes is a great little game, wrapped up in a sleek presentation. It’s difficult on the whole, but it never deviates from its trusted method of giving you a pattern and asking you to use it to overcome a boss. The result? A Boss Rush experience that is fun, rewarding and well worth playing.
Hyper Shapes is on the Xbox Store