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Game Info:

HyperRogue
Developed By: Zeno Rogue
Published By: Zeno Rogue
Released: January 16, 2015
Available On: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
Genre: Rogue-Like, Turn-Based
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Singleplayer, Up to 2 local
Price: $4.99

I am going to preface this review with a definition for non-Euclidean geometry. HyperRogue uses this system and it is an important part of the game; it can be hard to understand what's happening without knowing exactly what this type of geometry is. The definition I will give was provided to me by a friend that has done extensive research on it.

"One defining property is that there are no parallel lines. In Euclidean geometry, lines that pass through different points and don't intersect are parallel. In hyperbolic geometry, such lines are called ultraparallel, and diverge from each other.
Another property of hyperbolic geometry is that the circumference of a circle grows exponentially with its radius (i.e. very quickly), while in Euclidean geometry, it only grows linearly with its radius
Hyperbolic geometry also has more types of curves with constant curvature: In Euclidean geometry, a curve with constant curvature is a circle. In hyperbolic geometry, you can have circles, horocycles or hypercycles (= equidistant curves)
A horocycle can be seen as a circle with infinite radius. In Euclidean geometry, that would be a line, but in hyperbolic geometry, it is still a curve"
- Tricosahedron

HyperRogue is a roguelike turn-based game set in a vast non-Euclidean world. The game world bends around you and challenges what you thought was “up” or “down". There are several ways to “win” a run of HyperRogue, but all of them are optional, and none of them end the game. There are over 50 different lands you can travel through, each with their own unique look and playstyle. One land has gravity, one has wind, and another has enemies that only chase you if you stay near them for 3 turns. The bulk of the game is running around collecting treasure in each of these lands. The game somehow manages to be very complex but also be compacted into a chess-like system that’s easy to understand.

Hyperrogue
Highlights:

Strong Points: Incredibly unique; Tons of content; Accessible
Weak Points: Trippy; can cause headache. UI is ugly
Moral Warnings: Occult enemies; Magic use; areas called “Hell” and “Graveyard”

Every run starts you in an ice world. You wander around it, collecting these star-shaped things for points. Every player will notice right away that this game is not normal. Things that were next to you are now in front of you, vice versa and etcetera. The geometry of the game is too complex to predict or understand. At the same time, it can be used to your advantage. In some cases, it is entirely possible to outrun an enemy, despite both moving 1 turn at a time. You can run forward and never see the same things twice.

The whole game has a very open world feel to it. You never feel like you’re in a “level," and it never ends. You go into new areas simply by walking into their borders, and you can leave the same way. It manages to do this and be randomly generated. No run will ever have the same layout, which you probably wouldn’t notice due to the nature of the game anyway.

There are a variety of powerups you can use during a run. All of them are temporary, but provide important benefits, such as breaking down walls that you couldn’t otherwise, or teleporting out of a bad situation. They are essential to survival and provide an interesting layer of strategy.

The complexity comes from the number of different places to visit, and what comes with them. You have to approach every area a little bit differently. There is a place called “Land of Eternal Motion” where every tile you step on disappears, so instead of trying to fight off the enemies, you have to outrun them or even outsmart them. There is a land inspired by M.C. Escher’s “Reptiles” where you have to create new tiles by bumping lizard enemies into a pit. A place called "Bull Rush" requires you to lead bulls into butterflies. Every land is unique. To make sure the player always understands what they’re doing, you can right click any tile or enemy, and it gives you a paragraph long description.

There are a lot of different game modes to play if you wish, but most are irrelevant. You can play it as a real-time game, moving with WASD or arrow keys. You can play on local co-op with a friend, but I haven’t really understood how to get it to work. You can mess with the geometry of the game itself as well.

Hyperrogue
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 4/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 88%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

Since HyperRogue is a turn-based game, your character moves one turn at a time, as does everything else (aside from specific enemies, or a power-up that lets you move twice as fast). To move around you can use arrow keys, WASD, left-click, or even scroll wheel. You won’t be needing any other buttons, even attacking an enemy is simply left clicking on them. It makes the whole game feel very accessible.

The music is fantastic. Every area has one of about five different tracks. If you’ve left a land and went back in, the music will resume from where it ended off. It feels seamless. The sound effects are mediocre. Everything makes a crunch sound when killed. Treasures all make a different sound, but not anything of note. There isn’t a story, which with this game could be considered a good thing. You’d get lost trying to follow a story anyways.

My biggest issue with the game still ends up being minor. The menus are ugly and poorly done. They are just a giant wall of text that you can click on. I’ve encountered weird bugs with it such as being forced into real time mode, or not being able to use my mouse to move the character. Once I’m in a run, everything is perfectly fine. The game has never crashed on me, and nothing ever misbehaved.

There are a few things worth noting about the morality of HyperRogue. There is a necromancer enemy and several others that use some form of magic. There is an area called "Hell", and a "Graveyard" with ghosts. Otherwise, the game isn’t violent. There isn’t even an attack animation. The enemies are fantasy creatures for the most part.

Overall, HyperRogue is fantastic and unique. There isn’t anything like it on the market. It’s easy to pick up and play for 10 minutes with no annoyances and not too much to be worried about as a Christian. I wouldn’t call this a must-have but for five dollars, it is one of the best in the genre.

About the Author

Evan

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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