We’ve seen quite a lot of rogue-lite games in the past few years, but HyperParasite is quite a unique one. Taking place within a typical cyberpunk cityscape, an alien parasite has invaded the planet and is looking to leech onto every unfortunate soul that happens to get in its way. The twist here is that you get to play as the parasite, and all the heroic characters defending the city are your enemies. It’s a neat little spin on a game that otherwise borrows its aesthetics and gameplay structure from other examples of the genre.
With solid twin-stick controls, HyperParasite boasts a wide range of characters that you can play as. At first, though, the game can be a bit of a grind. You’ll only have access to a few characters, and in order to unlock more, you’ll need to kill them during your run and transport its brain to the in-game store. That’s not all though; once the characters’ brains are safely stored away, you’ll need to invest precious currency in order to actually unlock the character. Once you’ve got a few under your belt, the game becomes a lot more manageable, as you can always infect a new host if your current one gets killed. When playing as the parasite in its pure form, however, caution is highly advised, as one hit will immediately kill you and end your run.
A mix of offence and defence is required if you’re to successfully navigate the stages within HyperParasite. Whether playing as the parasite in its pure form or as an infected host, you’re granted the ability to dash, which makes you invulnerable for a split second as you execute it. Each character also has an enhanced version of their main attack, so, for example, the hobo can blast his trolley towards enemies, ploughing through several at once, and the police officer can power up his handgun so it shoots out gigantic bullets. It’s worth saving these abilities for boss battles, or for when you’re feeling completely overwhelmed by enemies.
Overall, the gameplay is pretty solid, with the unlockable characters proving to be a great incentive to dive in again and again. It takes a great deal of patience during your initial sessions to keep playing, however, because without having a decent range of hosts to choose from, you’re at risk of dying over and over again if you’re stuck within the parasite’s pure form. Thankfully, the enemies do tend to telegraph their attacks from a mile off, so you can mitigate the danger significantly once you know how to look out for this.
Unfortunately, the graphics and overall presentation don’t hold up quite as well at the gameplay itself. The environments are nice enough and display an '80s aesthetic that works rather well, but the character models themselves lack detail, resulting in a bit of difficulty telling them apart during the more hectic moments. We also noticed some slowdown here and there, but thankfully this is minimal. If you’re not too fussed about detailed visuals, then HyperParasite will no doubt keep you hooked with its unique parasite gameplay mechanic and exciting gun-play.