Synth-soundtracked, '80s-inspired games are standard fare, but I'm giving HyperParasite a pass for its early access launch today. A twin-stick roguelike shooter (with local co-op) by Troglobytes Games, it taps into the rich vein of classic action movie heroes, villains and cliches of the era. Playing as an alien blob, you're fragile, but can possess enemies to turbo-charge their attacks and use their health bar until it breaks, whether it's an off-brand Ghostbuster, Robocop or Kyle Reese. After playing a bit, I reckon it's onto something; think Enter The Gungeon spliced with Broforce. Below, the early access trailer.
Each of HyperParasite's five planned acts has its own theme and set of bodies to inhabit. The game opens on generic '80s action movie Streets O' Crimeyness, full of homeless people, drug lords, cops, firemen and some weirder characters like a basketball player or a surprisingly powerful papergirl. There's also a Ghostbuster in there, because why not? Your first time through an area you can only possess a handful of characters, but sometimes locked ones drop a brain when killed, which you can carry to a store and then invest money in unlocking them for future runs.
It makes for an immediate sense of progression. Within each area, you'll gradually gain more mastery over its enemies and their unique weapons and skills, and become more likely to see later stages. The second area is full of eastern cliches, with yakuza, sumo wrestlers, ninjas and a few heroes like an off-brand Kurt Russel (Big Trouble in Little China style), a knockoff Raiden (Mortal Kombat) and so on. I've not seen him yet, but I'm pretty sure the Cyber Samurai and his claw weapons are meant to be Shredder.
There's three of these environments and three large sets of enemies, but the developers aim to launch later this year with five, and I'm curious to see what nonsense they've got planned. I'll be surprised if NotRambo doesn't make an appearance. The core of the game seems mostly stable here, with plans to just bolt on more and more stuff until launch - levels, enemies, secrets, bosses and such.
HyperParasite is in early access and available here on Steam for £6.19/€7.39/8.99, published by Hound Picked Games. The price is expected to rise as the game nears completion.