Virtual Reality is truly an immersive experience. A synergy is formed between you and the space you occupy. A true sense of depth perception and spacing are one of the great triumphs that this medium offers and developer Kokoromi use this to great effect in their latest offering Superhypercube.
Superhypercube is a puzzle game in a similar vein to Tetris and many other such titles that have come before. Instead of passively observing falling blocks, you now occupy a world where the walls are literally closing in. The game takes place in a strange neon corridor that morph and shifts like a kaleidoscope; strange electronic sounds pulse and hum creating a trippy dreamlike experience. However, all the while, the wall at the far end of the corridor is closing in; luckily, there is a hole in the wall that can fit a shape that will allow a brief moment of respite before another wall approaches.
So begins the frantic gameplay loop that makes Superhypercube a thrilling, brain melting but ultimately shallow experience. What initially seems to be a simple experience soon develops into a fiendish battle against time and your own ability to process complex shapes in 2d and 3d. You use the controller to spin and shape your cluster of cubes to fit through the approaching hole in the wall. With every successful shape that passes through the wall more and more cubes are added, creating a larger more unwieldy cluster that requires you to stretch and crane your neck to see around. Every tenth level presents you with a spinning “boss” wall that changes the shape of the cluster required every ten or so seconds requiring speed of thought and perfect timing to conquer.
Luckily, a gauge fills up over time allowing the use of a slow-motion ability, buying a bit more time to process the required shape in your mind’s eye. If you successfully fill the gauge twice you are treated to a bomb that can be used to destroy the wall in front and skipping you to the next stage. This bomb ability is usually earned over multiple stages and adds a much-needed layer of strategy to proceedings. Unfortunately, this is really the only amount of strategy the game requires. Due to the fairly simplistic nature of the overall experience, there is not really a specific learning curve based on skill. You might get slightly quicker at mentally processing the shapes required but ultimately you will hit a mental barrier that cannot be passed with skills learned throughout the game. More sophisticated puzzle games usually have extra layers and mechanics added on that teach new skills and strategies to be successful and allowing you to overcome any mental barriers you may have.
Unfortunately, how far you progress through Superhypercube totally depends on your mental ability to process the geometric shapes. It is a shame, as there is an excellent idea on display here that just needed a bit more time in development to add extra layers of depth. Outside of the high score system and worldwide leaderboards, there aren’t any other options such as multiplayer or a story mode. There is a real missed opportunity here to create a strange single player experience that used the setting and puzzles to create an interesting story.
Superhypercube is a fun and challenging game that will find its audience. The implementation of VR adds to the experience and creates an interesting mix of physical and mental gymnastics. However, limited game modes and a lack of multiplayer really make it hard to recommend at full price. Puzzle game fans should wait for the game to be made available on sale whilst everyone else should wait for a more fleshed out sequel.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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