Hyperdrive Massacre review

Hyperdrive Massacre offers a pick-up and play local multiplayer experience that’s ideal for relaxed fun with friends, yet has enough depth to entice you into mastering its mechanics for more competitive play. As such it’s easy to recommend if you’re in the mood for some 80s style multiplayer, although the restriction to local play is a slight barrier.

After choosing from a rooster of space cars, you and up to three others – AI or human – compete across a multitude of modes either individually or as two teams. Your space car can boost forward and is then at the mercy of inertia, turning your car around and boosting is your only means of manoeuvring, albeit for firing your weapon which also acts as a force on your car, neatly slowing you down if you’re gliding along at speed, or pushing you backwards if you’re stationary. Destroying enemy cars within the arena is usually your goal.

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It’s a very simple and elegant top-down, competitive, arcade shooter; you each begin in a corner and chase each other around firing your front facing energy weapon and laying mines behind you. The inertia movement means control is loose, often causing hilarious situations where you’re gliding aimlessly around each other desperately firing and trying to score a kill. Other times you’ll careen straight into a mine someone thoughtfully placed, or have it attract to you like a gravitational pull as you spin around trying to lose it, or better yet guide it with your front facing shield to hit another player.

Your shield also absorbs incoming fire but prevents you from firing when activated, so trying to control your intractable movement, dodging mines and using your shield whilst firing at equally out of control enemies, can all get a bit much, leading to hilarious mistakes and frantic fun. Furthermore, power-ups randomly appear in the arena granting you different weapons, such as a scatter shot and powerful beam. Meanwhile, in true retro style, if you go off the edge of the screen you re-appear the other side; this goes from projectiles as well, adding a further concern to be wary of. It’s blast to play, especially with friends.

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Whilst all modes encourage you to gleefully destroy each other, there’s some nice variety to them. One mode recreates the classic game Pong, restricting you and your team mate to one side of the arena as you try to push a puck towards each other’s edge. Meanwhile a football facsimile plays precisely how you’d imagine it would, and a frantic hunt to collect numbers that appear on-screen makes for another compelling competition beyond simple deathmatch. However, even with some cars and arenas to unlock its longevity is limited.

Hyperdrive Massacre is fun, whether you’re playing against AI or friends, but runs out of tricks pretty quickly. As a party game for local multiplayer is great fun, and learning to master the simple mechanics can make for some pretty spectacular matches between two equally competent players, but there’s isn’t enough on offer otherwise.

Thanks to Xbox and 34BigThings for their support

[rprogress value=68 text=”TiX Score 68%”]
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