When Spore came out several years ago, the 'life simulation' turned out to be five blocks with a different gaming type taking over each step up. In one step, you have cities and quickly take over others, and in the next level you need to terraform planets to take over and create entire spice and trade routes with. HYPERNOVA: Escape from Hadea combines those last two steps and makes a game out of it with....interesting results.
You are the Scynthian race. You look like Jar Jar Binks, but are way less hateable. Your star is dying, and you need to get your people out of there. The only way is a teleportation device you need to build, and to do so, you need to colonize a moon, terraform the area, build the device and get out of there. It's a fun plot, because while Sim City has you build for the sake of building, you're building to save your people, and you need to get them out. It's a big motivator, and it totally works.
The Graphics in HYPERNOVA are fun. They're pretty up to date, and it's a top down view, but the real fun comes in the sheer amount of colors in the world. Everything is bright, from your light green and blue ship, to the purple fog, to the blue ground to...well, you get the idea. The plant-life looks almost out of Pandora, and all your machines look so out there. I'm glad they didn't aim for realistic, because otherwise it would kick some of the wonder out of it. Even your race are bright Green Jar Jars running around. It does get copy and paste like graphics real quick, but unlike many games that do it, it's at least fun to look at.
The controls tied me up a few times. For the most part it's simple clicking what and where you want it, but this became too much at some points. For things like the mothership, I had to hold down and click sometimes for it to open, while other times it was a simple click. Other times, when putting things like turrets and purifiers down, I would need to double click instead of single click, and then the next time doing it, it was only a single click. It may have been a bug, because the tutorial windows only mentioned it happening a single way, but the wonkiness of it threw me off sometimes. If it was a bug, or my laptop doing that for some reason, then it's a pretty simple control setup.
I mentioned earlier that playing HYPERNOVA is like playing Spore, and it very much is. But also throw in aspects of Pikmin, Sim City, and tower defense games. That's the kind of gameplay. You land, mine, set up all sorts of buildings to build the teleporter, defend, bring power and all sorts of things. And the balance between it all is right. I had a lot of fun deciding where to put what and making things worse. The wildlife on this planet is unrelenting, and it, again, was real fun to stop them.
Throughout the game there is a simple futuristic beat going on, and it's nice. It's not exactly epic, but it always fits with what you're doing. Sound is both good and bad. The voice of the aliens is randomly Jamaican, which....sigh...works, but felt a bit off. Other sounds work great – I don't know what they used to get things like the printer (your ship making things out of matter), but it worked shockingly well. Everything seemed to have a unique sound, and that's always good to hear. Besides the randomly Jamaican alien, it's all good on this front.
The frame rate was ok. It wasn't seamless, at least to me. It was just a tad jerky. You see little things, like aliens roaming around, that jerkily move about, and then you have building that seem to skip a step in animation every once in a while. Other than that, there were a few glitches. I mentioned a few possible ones earlier, but in addition to those, sometimes some buildings or weapons wouldn't work. I had weapons that didn't fire, despite being all powered and previously being effective. Then when I rebuilt, they would be fine. It only happened a few times, but still, it happened.
HYPERNOVA: Escape from Hadea is, overall, a pretty great game. I noted all the problems with it I encountered, but the truth is, even with all that, you're going to have a good time. It's addictive, but with the extra layer of all these actions actually mattering – you're saving your species. Not just building for the sake of it. It's that story, plus with all of the interconnecting building and strategy, that's at the crux here, and it's dandy. A little more polish wouldn't have hurt, and maybe making the aliens Jamaican Star Wars characters was sorta the wrong way to do things, but in the end, it's a fun game that makes you want to play it more.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.