Hyper Universe is a game among MOBA giants like League of Legends and Dota 2, but it does offer some significant new gameplay aspects not typically seen in the MOBA genre. This anime-styled MOBA title from CWAVESOFT, Inc. offers a unique perspective and is something to look into. Pitting a variety of characters against each other, Hyper Universe has teams of four duke it out as they attempt to take down each other's bases.
Like other MOBA titles, Hyper Universe offers a plethora of characters (Hypers) to choose from. Current count is at 41, all with varying looks, feels, and general uniqueness that keeps them from being reskins of other Hypers. The game offers the ability to try out the rotating, weekly list of Hypers, but you can also go and purchase them both in-game using Game Points (GP) or through real-life currency. The rotating list may seem small, but it at least allows you to get a feel for different Hypers each week in the middle of real combat. For those looking to try out new ones, the game's training room offers the option to select any from the roster and give them a chance. The Hypers themselves are broken into six distinct types: Tank, Bruiser, Specialist, Striker, Support, and Assassin. Since every team is maxed at four, having a good balance is key to being able to push to your enemy's base while maintaining your own defenses.
Compounding the idea of each Hyper's uniqueness is the ability to set equipment lists for use in matches. The equipment itself can be upgraded multiple times during the match using earned gold, but the equipment itself can be selected prior to matchmaking. There are initially two sets of six equipment slots to customize, but additional ones can be purchased. This equipment lists give you some additional customization in matches as you can select from which list you want to use; this can be beneficial if you're in need of a tactics change with new enemy Hypers on the field. Even adding another layer to this are unique Hyper items or general items for everyone. Getting unique items to their specified Hyper (and then upgrading it mid-match) offer some crazy bonuses.
Gameplay within Hyper Universe is also where the game offers a strikingly fun, yet unique MOBA experience I found myself thoroughly enjoying. I'll be quick to admit I'm generally not a fan of the MOBA experience, but the new approach by having the game be a side-scrolling, almost platformer-esque 2D title caught my attention. There is no 3D isometric battlefield, but the gorgeously rendered characters and backgrounds all take place on a 2D plane. So ultimately movement is pretty limited - left, right, up, and down. Each Hyper has a basic attack and a set of special attacks at their disposal. Most basic attacks recharge fast enough, while the specials require a little more time to recharge and require mana for use. Mana is gained through basic attacks, so balancing your move set usage is vital to keeping yourself in the game. And for those tired of fumbling around on a keyboard for hotkeys, Hyper Universe offers both keyboard and controller support. I found using my Xbox One controller felt very easy and natural, and this alone made me a bit more giddy to try the game out.
I was a bit surprised at the sheer variety Hyper Universe offers. There's more to the game than just simply queuing up and playing against other players or AI. The game boasts a massive crafting system in addition to story objectives to complete. The crafting element comes in the form of Cubes earned through gameplay or leveling up; opening them up reveals crafting pieces that can be used to craft new Hypers, skins, equipment, and more. While akin to loot crates in a sense, they are focused on the crafting element within the game.
Every time I was online, the game shows fairly high ping/wait times for games, and I noticed a few random lag spikes, but nothing too serious. I can imagine this may depend more on your teammates' and your connections, but no one enjoys lag. Thankfully, it wasn't a constant for me. The other note I've mentioned is the sheer amount of things to do. From crafting to "story" missions to simply customizing your item loadout, Hyper Universe is a lot to take in up front. Granted, once you've got a groove going and you've found your setup, a lot of this will no doubt fall to the wayside until you're ready to step out of the fun matches and flesh out additional Hypers. For those looking to jump in, a lot of this can be quickly ignored, but it's a major requirement to do well in ranked matches if that's your goal.
I feel Hyper Universe may fill an unrealized niche in the MOBA genre. The gameplay feels fresh, the controller support is an excellent perk, and for those tired of other MOBA games might find themselves falling quickly into Hyper's simple, free-to-play model. While yes, it's possible to go and buy equipment and Hypers, I'm never sure how much that may or may not imbalance overall gameplay. That being said, given some time and server tweaking to fix those crazy lag spikes and I think this game will continue to grow.Note: Hyper Universe was reviewed on PC. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.