Hyper Demon review: An eldritch bullet-hell FPS

Y’all know what a palantír is, right?

J.R.R. Tolkien nor the films of Peter Jackson, it’s one of those creepy, indestructible crystal balls scattered across the world of Middle-earth that allows the Eye of Sauron to warp the minds of any hapless fool of a Took (*cough* Pippin *cough*It is possible to be unlucky enough to glimpse its dark depths.

You can play Hyper DemonThe latest first-person shooter from Devil Daggers developer Sorath, is kind of like staring into one of those — but instead of mind-melting horrors, it has rocket jumps and a leaderboard.

An announcement was made and it was released Monday. Hyper Demon is not a sequel to Sorath’s aforementioned 2016 bullet-hell shooter, but it nonetheless represents an evolution of its core mechanics. It is available in Devil DaggersThe players take on the role of an unknown protagonist. After disturbing a strange dagger in space, they are forced to survive wave upon wave of hellspawn. With an aestheticAnd mechanics inspiring comparisons to ’90s arena shooters like Doom and Quake, Devil Daggers grew into a bona fide indie hit, racking up impressive review scores and slithering its way onto a number of publications’ best of the year lists.

An insectile demon enemy in Hyper Demon.

Image by Sorath

Now, six years later, the predecessor has been released. Hyper DemonIt has unleashed its fury on the world, and like a Cenobite in hell, has many sights to offer. While on the surface, the two games may appear near identical in their execution, it’s only after you throw yourself into the gauntlet, time after time, that the difference between the two becomes apparent.

While Devil DaggersFPS was an interminable FPS that involved holding off against any demons as much as possible. Hyper DemonIt is basically a Twitch Shooter that focuses on speedrunning through the hell. A timer at the top shows the current second. Each demon that is killed earns you a gem. This will add more time to the clock and increase your overall score depending on its size.

You can kill your enemies faster than they spawn. They spawn quicker, which makes the game more difficult. Your score will increase if they are harder. Conversely, the slower you slay your enemies, the slower they spawn and the easier the game becomes, but if the timer dips below 0, you’ll die and have to start all over again. It’s a different sort of intensity than Devil Daggers, one which forces you to focus on not only the teeming mass of monstrosities in front of you but to weigh every second like it’s life or death.

A screenshot of a demon attacking the player in Hyper Demon.

Image by Sorath

That’s not even getting into the real meat of what you actually DoYour participation in the game. At first glance Hyper DemonAlthough it may seem like an easy twitch-based FPS game, the vast array of capabilities that emerge from those simple elements are impressive. Shoot and strafe, changing between rapid-fire streaming and shorter-to-mid range shotgun clusters to take down this particular circle.

The most important thing is that you can dash. This gives you more maneuverability, including double jumping and air dashing. A player can pick up several gems to get an “alt-fire sniper” laser shot that, if directed correctly, will bounce off the ground and cause damage to multiple opponents at once. There’s a myriad of tactics to choose from, ranging from throwable bombs and shields to collectible “super moves” like homing shots and laser storms. You can play fast and furious. Devil Daggers, but there’s more complexity from moment to moment — it’s all the more satisfying and compulsively playable.

However, all of this is meaningless in the context of Hyper Demon’s most distinguishing aspect: the visuals. The art style is a key element of Devil Daggers could be roughly summed up as a throwback to the shooters of the ’90s, Hyper Demon is both that and… something else entirely. As the action on screen escalates, the game’s presentation steadily morphs into a stroboscopic, fisheye-lens perspective, bending the corners of the screen into a 180-degree sphere. This effect is almost hallucinatory. It’s a prismatic display of screeching noises and piercing beams, which feels as if you’re staring into the alien equivalent of the Stargate sequence. 2001: A Space Odyssey.

With every well-timed dodge and dash, pinpricks of light trail and bend sideways across the screen, as though I’m narrowly skirting the rim of a black hole, less than a hair’s breadth shy of being sucked past its event horizon. Euphoria is felt with every kill and each second. And that’s not even mentioning the game’s final boss encounter. Yes — there is an “end” to Hyper Demon.It will all depend on how well you can react and your tolerance for punishments that could damage the retina.

Even though the game is to some extent indebted, it’s not as bad for the basic needs and bones of. Devil Daggers, Hyper Demon truly looks and plays like nothing else I’ve encountered in 2022. There are many twitch-shooters like this in a year that is filled with them. Neon WhiteAnd Metal: Hellsinger, Hyper DemonHe is the ultimate bullet-hell shooter.

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