Hypernova: Escape from Hadea

If you were to take a RTS base building game, put it in a blender with a tower defense game, and added a touch of Jamaica you would get Hypernova: Escape from Hadea. Hypernova is a base building/tower defense game developed by Actalogic in which the player is tasked to settle a new world, expand its population and then build a space bridge to bring the residents of Hadea to their new home world before it explodes.

The game starts with the player controlling their floating constructor base, skimming the ground, looking for a suitable place to land and begin colonization. The new world is completely inhospitable, covered in a pinkish gas that not only damages buildings but is toxic to the new explorers. There are three minerals that are mined to expand your base, and finding a place to land with close access to each of these three minerals is key. Gameplay is broken down into several components and each one focuses on the different phases necessary to build the space bridge and save the population of Hadea from certain doom.

Upon landing, one of the first of these phases is base expansion and resource gathering. This involves expanding your power reach by creating power generators, using air purifiers to clear out the pink fog that covers the planet, building various structures to expand your population, researching new technologies and mining for minerals. Minerals are scattered across the map, and the pink fog must be removed before mining can commence. Each mineral has a set amount available, which depletes as you mine the resource. Once the resource is depleted, the driller will stop automatically and the resource will slowly regenerate. One of the most annoying aspects of this phase is the constant need to micromanage these drillers. You will find yourself bouncing around to each driller that has stopped, to start it back up again once sufficient resources have been regenerated. It’s also worth noting that structures you build can suffer damage even in areas where pink fog has been removed, and the need for a device called a Fixycoil is needed to ensure these are repaired before they are destroyed.

The Second major phase is base defense, which involves research and construction of various turret types. Once built these are placed around your base and structures to defend against waves of alien creatures, hell bent on the destruction of your budding civilization. There are numerous types of creatures that become more difficult the longer the game progresses. Each creature is particularly sensitive to a specific turret type and immune to another which requires that the player plan for different turrets to defend their territory. The creatures originate from lairs scattered across the map and extermination of these lairs can only be performed utilizing artillery units, named Lairslayers, made specifically for this purpose. When the Lairslayers are placed within range of a creature lair and the attack begins, creatures will spew forth from the lair destroying everything in their path. It’s important to ensure that your Lairslayers, as well as any base structures are adequately protected by turrets or they risk being overrun and destroyed. Lairs are difficult to take down and poor planning can lead to decimation; however, removing these lairs ensures that your base expansion can proceed and limits the areas where creatures can spawn from.

The third major phase of the game is population growth and technology advancement. For Hadea to be saved, the population must grow to 100,000. This is achieved by building cribs, producing food and water and creating improvement buildings which all allow the population to grow faster and larger. The player can research various technologies to build different turrets, buildings and devices that improve your colony overall. Some of these technologies are locked until you reach a specific population level, and your power is often limited until these are unlocked. Therefore, it’s important to choose your buildings and tech carefully…ensuring that your population is regularly growing and is well defended at the same time.

The game is colorful, full of green, yellow and lots of pink fog. The buildings are of vary shapes and sizes and have a very interesting almost insect like look to them. The sound is immersive and various audio cues are relayed in a very Jamaican like accent. You will receive voice prompts from your commander which provide information that something is happening somewhere on the map, while you are busy micromanaging other areas. This ensures that while you are focused in one area, you can quickly move to address whatever problems arise. As the game continues, additional obstacles will be thrown in the player’s path, electric tornados and meteor strikes that can decimate the area of the colony where it hits. The game itself is long, easily lasting 15-20 hours to reach your goal of 100,000 colonists, and has an incredible amount of replay value.

So, what are some of the negatives? Well, like many games in this similar genre there is an incredible amount of micromanagement. Particularly when it comes to ensuring your drillers are continuously mining and bringing in resources. There are no units to build, only turrets for defense which restricts the player to mainly defensive capabilities, with the only true offensive option being the building of Lairslayers to wipe out enemy lairs. There is only one mission to the game which is getting the population to 100,000 and building the space bridge and a bit more variety or options for other types of game modes would have been preferred.

So, should you buy it? If you are a fan of base building RTS games and/or tower defense games, then there is a lot to like here. Even though there is a bit more micromanagement in this game than I prefer, I still really enjoyed Hypernova and I can easily see myself returning to play it again.

What I liked : Colorful look to buildings, large variety of enemies

What I liked less: Driller micromanagement

4 out of 5 stars