There's been an unusual and specific trend on indie games in the last few years. They're getting more neon, more synth. Really, anything you imagine future-but-never happened 80's as. A lot of games are doing it. Hyper Jam is what you get when you mix that with a few popular games and put out a game.
You are a class of character going against a few other players in an area, arming yourself and upgrading yourself to gt an advantage. If you think this sounds like a mix of Fortnite and Mario Party, then you're absolutely right! Honestly, that's all you need to know about the story – you're in a place and you need to kill others, no matter what game type you choose.
I don't typically play on Xbox One, so I had a bit of a learning curve with the controller. Early on, I found running around to be a bit wonky -- especially with the weird camera angles going all over -- and I died a many times. And that's a complaint I had even when I got used to the controls – the moving camera would disrupt everything. Firing weapons and things you got, but man the camera was the one thing you couldn't get used to.
The graphics are better than I thought it would be. For some places, like Miami, it looked cheesy-fake. But once you got out of the cities and neon, it looked surprisingly good. Lush foliage really popped. Like, any indoors scenes, especially the subway or in a city, it looked too streamlined. Too seamless. But when it was time to get creative, it did really well. Same for the characters and effects. Things like shields didn't look too good, but characters themselves had this realistic streak about them. Basically whenever they didn't try too hard.
The gameplay is what you'd expect – kill each other and/or some variant of it. Like I played in several modes, and I can't think of any difference besides certain weapons or a kind of scoring. Which character you pick decides what weapons you use, so naturally gameplay comes down to hacky-slashy weapons, gun weapons and explosive weapons, with all manner of shields and upgrades so you don't die as fast. It's like Fortnite but on crack.
I can never not like an 80's synth soundtrack, especially one that goes through the effort to make it sound like it's from the era, so the music gets flying colors from me, especially since it fits the style and even the maps so perfectly. Sound isn't bad, it's just generic. All the explosions and guns and things? They could have easily been from any game. It's not a bad thing, but compared to the perfect music, it's nothing above average.
Frame rates faltered at times, as some of the bigger weapons led to some lag. Opening games also led to wait times where things would freeze for a bit or stagger out. There were also some minor glitches, like players not getting hurt in explosion radii at times or strange clips in animated characters running about. Nothing bad, but still noticeable.
Like I said, this is Fortnite meets Mario Party but run through a Blade Runner-80's future dream. I'm not sure what that says to where games are going at the moment, but what it does say is that these types of games aren't being endangered any time soon. And Hyper Jam is an average arena with a layer of what's popular on top. It is pretty addictive, and it can get creative (especially the music), but it feels like it comes up short. Besides the classes of characters and perks, there's not much more to where it can go. Hyper Jam spent a lot on style,and you can tell. If only there was just a little more to make this more than just a basic arena underneath.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.