Developer/Publisher: Bit Dragon || Overall: 8.0/10
Hyper Jam is a well-polished multiplayer brawler with an ’80’s aesthetic. The retrowave soundtrack is front and center as you boot up the game and instantly “get” what the theme is going for. While you’re not going to get something super complex or noteworthy, it is still fun for what it is.
Hyper Jam‘s got cool music — around seven songs that are popular on Spotify synthwave radio shuffle. You’re bound to have heard them if you are into the genre. It is a good “sampling” of what you’d hear and the particular song selections match the atmosphere/fast paced nature of the game. Only one song doesn’t really work well, but it is still a good one, so can’t really complain that much.
Hyper Jam mixes things up during and between rounds of the battle. There is a nice weapon diversity, but this is no Smash Bros.; there are about five unique weapons and little else to pick up. In pursuit of the goal to be the last man standing and earning points based on performance, you’ll earn randomized perks that can change up the result of the next round. These can range anywhere from more health, more attack, freezing your enemy, knockback resistance, etc. Stacking buffs will also be important depending on what you picked previously during the match. A winner is declared once you hit 1500 points and survive the next round. This gives everyone else the motivation to team up and catch up to the leader so that the whole game isn’t lost as quickly.
There are only four characters to choose from, which makes it so you always see the same characters. You wouldn’t know it until you finish a match, but you’ll unlock customizations for them through earning XP, though there isn’t a way to browse what you’ve earned. I’m unsure what the point is of the overall leveling system other than to keep track of how much you’ve played and unlock taunts. There’s a nice range of maps to play on, as well.
Matchmaking online isn’t very populous, but a recent update made it so you can join “in-progress” matches, greatly increasing the chance you can join other people and actually play with them. Since the game is built for multiplayer only, it can feel a bit dead when you “randomly” match with the same people over and over. You can play with bots to your hearts content, and they have multiple levels of bots. You can also play with friends locally, but it’ll get old once you play through each arena one or two times. It would have been nice if there was some sort of single-player campaign with this gameplay/aesthetic instead of only multiplayer brawls.
Hyper Jam is a pretty fun game to play for a couple of hours, but your mileage may vary. There’s not a whole lot to the game and it is pretty simple, so if the aesthetic and music don’t do it for you, it won’t show its value. Can definitely see it on a playlist of “party games” but little more.