Review: SUPERHYPERCUBE (PSVR)

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Formats:

  • PlayStation 4

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • PlayStation Move None
Title: SUPERHYPERCUBE
Format: PSN (541 MB)
Release Date: October 10, 2016
Publisher: Polytron
Developer: kokoromi
Original MSRP: $29.99
ESRB Rating: E
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 497 of the podcast.

Gameplay:
Take some Tetris, mix it with Hole in the Wall, and you’ve got yourself an interesting and challenging puzzle game. It’s such a simple concept, but one that lends itself beautifully to VR.

A block appears in front of you and moves slowly forward through space. Sitting directly behind the block, you’ll need to lean to and fro in order to see around it and position it to fit through the hole in an oncoming wall. But if that’s all there was then you’d probably get bored with it pretty quick.

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The challenge comes as the block has more and more pieces added to it. As it grows, your ability to think spatially will be sorely tested. You have a short amount of time between walls to rotate the block along three axes and get it lined up. It’s a clever use of VR.

There’s a bit more to the game though as lining things up early and hitting a button to speed your way through the hole will net you a scoring bonus and help build a special move meter.

… the inexorable march towards your doom …
Your two special moves are Hyperfocus and Smash. The trick is that Hyperfocus builds up first and when it’s full, Smash starts to build. Use Hyperfocus and you’ll have to build that up again before getting Smash done.

Hyperfocus essentially slows things to a crawl and turns the screen mostly black and white. This only lasts for a short while but it’ll allow you to figure out the alignment with a little less pressure. Smash allows you to safely blow right through a wall.

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As each new cube attaches itself to your massive floating block, the challenge grows, as does the inexorable march towards your doom. Hit the wall once in the wrong position and blocks will break off, but you’ll be allowed to continue. Hit it a second time and it’s game over.

The hook here is clearly in the score chase. To that end, the menu system has panels for all your statistics, your personal best scores, Friends List best scores, and World’s Best. That should be all the motivation you need for “just one more go”.

… music pulses along with the movement of the game …
Visuals:
It’s a neon disco 70’s dance party up in here. Actually, the lines and curves in the background allow you to focus on the solid, unwieldy block as you attempt to line things up. The sense of speed and movement in general is really impressive.

This game also has one of my favorite uses of the peculiarities of VR in the wireframe DualShock 4. Not only does it manifest the physical controller in your hands directly into the VR world as a partial wireframe mockup, but it tells you what each button does in case you forget. Holding it down in your lap can essentially move it “offscreen” so you won’t even see it if you don’t want to.

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Audio:
There’s a satisfying thunk to the blocks attaching to your amalgamation. The music pulses along with the movement of the game and never gets in the way or feels out of place.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with worldwide leaderboards being the only online component.

… a really good puzzle game that makes really great use of the technology …
Conclusion:
While this is a great concept and it’s executed really beautifully, I do have concerns about its longevity. Granted, Tetris is Tetris, and that one has done quite well for itself with a minimalist take on things.

SUPERHYPERCUBE is an order of magnitude higher on the difficulty scale and that, combined with a pretty high price considering the smaller nature of the game, may be enough to turn a lot of people off.

Overall though, this is a really good puzzle game that makes really great use of the technology. It’s also a fun one to show off to friends and family to get some local competition going.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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