Hyper Scape may seem like a frivolous endeavour in a world dominated by Fortnite, Warzone and Apex, but look a little deeper and you'll find a game making great strides in a number of key areas. We go hands on with the newly launched Open Beta.
Judge something purely on aesthetics and Hyper Scape would appear to be an amorphous mashup of any number of franchises, but there's also key points of differentiation here that are so well implemented. Two of our biggest bugbears with Battle Royale experiences are how they handle redundant loot, and the consequences of death.
The former often appear as useless pickups crowding the loot pool that do little but irritate as you approach the endgame state, while the latter can leave you frustrated if you're eliminated super early into a drop.
Hyper Scape deals with both of these aspects head on, with a confidently alternative take on these well-worn mechanics that really caught our eye.
Weapons can be upgraded with improved stats if you pick up duplicates, and since there doesn't appear to be a huge amount of loot on the map (at least relative to similar titles), this is a fantastic way to make hoovering up items feel meaningful at every turn.
Death (when playing squads) isn't necessarily the end here, but again, goes beyond nabbing a respawn beacon or fighting your way out of the gulag. Upon your untimely demise, you'll enter a ghost state, where you can freely move around the map and scout ahead for your team.
If your buddy eliminates another player, a restore point appears. If you both stand together and activate the process, you'll pop back in and continue.
The immediacy of this is much appreciated, giving players who've been taken out of play a chance to feel useful, whilst maintaining the high stakes of single life competition and the challenge of risking it all to bring someone back.
Weapon design is efficient but fairly rudimentary; there's nothing really here you haven't seen before. An area of slightly more obvious iteration can be found in the abilities, which again can be equipped and swapped out on the fly as and when you discover them across the map.
The enormous bouncing ball is a haphazard highlight, and in a game that places so much emphasis on verticality, stuff like Slam and Mine make each combat encounter quite unpredictable.
The combat itself is a tough one to crack; it's extremely fast, and often becomes more about how cleverly you can jump to avoid bullets than it does about precision shooting and popping heads.
Shotguns are extremely powerful, and generally speaking, explosive weapons will be your go to. The erratic deconstruction of the map as zones go dark lends a dynamic feel to each round, and again subverts expectation by not implementing a traditional collapsing circle.
Hyper Scape is off to a strong start. It's great to see Ubisoft throw their weight behind a new IP, and if they can keep innovating mechanically, it will carve a slice of the pie in an already crowded space.
Hyper Scape Open Beta is available now, for PC.
Hyper Scape launches this Summer on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.