Recently released into Steam’s Early Access program, Hyper Universe
is Nexon’s latest novelty which challenges the traditional styles of the MOBA genre. Here, Nexon offers a clever mix between MOBA and the fighting/platform genre (that won’t be without reminding some of titles like Brawlout, Brawlhala or even Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo enthusiasts) in an isometric view. Visually it looks like a normal 2D fighting game, with the exception that players evolve with and against others in a number of horizontal “lanes”, essential to the MOBA spirit.
The goal is of course to destroy the enemy’s turrets with the help of your characters, here called Hypers. The characters are broken down into 6 classes: Tank, Bruiser, Specialist, Striker, Support and Assassin. There is something for everyone and Hyper Universe offers a variety of wacky characters in a frenzied universe.
So yes, despite its looks, Hyper Universe is a MOBA that has the particularity of benefiting from multidirectional 2D scrolling (you can move to the left or to the right to explore lane, or up or down to move to a different one). It borrows most of its game mechanics from the basic MOBA model. Each side of the map opposes two teams (red and blue), consisting here of four heroes each, aiming to destroy the enemy’s base. To pierce the enemy defenses, consisting of several turrets punctuating the different possible paths towards the opposite base, each team can count on the support of minions that automatically spawn and run towards specific towers in successive waves. They also protect you by absorbing the attacks of towers while you damage them, and it is generally not recommended to push without (unless you’re confident you can destroy the tower somewhat fast).
But be warned that the opposing Hypers will not let you do so unbothered. You will always have to be prepared to defend yourself from ambushes and sudden assaults. Moreover, killing enemy minions awards you gold than can then be used to buy and upgrade equipment that you have in your preselected set.
Like any good MOBA, Hyper Universe offers you the choice between several very specific heroes, with a total of 28 that seem to be properly balanced, at least from my experience with them. Jack is a versatile Hyper that can both tank and chase enemies, but is somewhat lacking when it comes to skill power, and depends on his basic attack to deal damage. Valter’s health and defense make him a great asset on the frontlines. Don’t judge Louis by his appearance, his power along with his high mobility make are what owe him his place under the Assassin class. Each hyper has a series of skills that you will have to master to get the most out of them, along with Ultimates that are specific to their character. While there does seem to be a rotation system for Hypers, I've been able to use them all so far (most likely due to the Early Access nature).
Being in Early Access, however, the content available is still somewhat limited, with a single map, as well as a single mode (divided into Regular, AI, Custom and training matches) being available currently. Regardless, the game does include some interesting content, with my favorite being the STORY one where you received various rewards for playing with the different Hypers available, or even reaching certain objectives/achievements.
Hyper Universe is definitely one of my most interesting experience with the MOBA genre, along with the equally excellent MxM. While easy to handle, the game offers several control modes and perfectly recognizes the Xbox 360 pad, the game is paradoxically arduous to master. If the lack of content is something that will put you off, I would greatly recommend that you keep an eye out for future updates to give Nexon’s MOBA a try.