This prob­a­bly won’t come as much of a sur­prise to any­one, but I’ve never been a fan of MOBAs. I’ve tried a few and they all were ei­ther un­wel­com­ing or un­in­ter­est­ing for the most part. This could be be­cause I’ve never been much of a fan of RTS games so didn’t re­ally have the drive to jump into the mods (at first) and then the fully fledged games later. Now along comes the first MOBA that has re­ally cap­tured my in­ter­est, Hy­per Universe, and that in­ter­est is due to a sim­ple change of per­spec­tive.

Rather than the top down or iso­met­ric ap­proach of most MOBAs, Hy­per Universe in­stead adopts the 2D per­spec­tive of a side-scrolling beat-em-up and some of the game­play syn­ony­mous with the style. Each of the 28 char­ac­ters (24 un­locked ini­tially and four more un­locked through lev­el­ling) has ba­sic but­ton ma­chine fight com­bos as well as cooldown based pow­ers that will be fa­mil­iar with any MOBA player. The char­ac­ters them­selves are a real rag­tag group. There is no co­he­sion in de­sign or genre lead­ing to a pleas­antly an­ar­chic sen­si­bil­ity. The char­ac­ters, or “Hypers” as they are called in the game, fall into six class cat­e­gories, Tanks (pretty self­ex­plana­tory), Bruis­ers (melee com­bat­ants), Spe­cial­ists, Strik­ers (sus­tained long range dam­age), Sup­port and Assassins (burst dam­age spe­cial­ists).

To give you some idea of how dis­parate the char­ac­ters are, the Tank ros­ter con­sists of Ad­mi­ral W (think Davey Jones from Pi­rates of the Caribbean), Athena (the Greek god­dess), Ge­limer (Franken­stein), Green Pit Bull (Au­drey II/Pi­ranha Plant) and Val­ter (Rein­hardt from Over­watch). The Bruis­ers are a su­per­hero, a vam­pire, Sun Wukong the Mon­key King, a tiger cub rid­ing a rhino and a Ja­panese ro­bot. It makes no sense, but that lack of co­he­sion adds quite a bit of charm to the game. Due to the 2D na­ture of the maps, the way lane­ing and jungling works is han­dled a lit­tle dif­fer­ently, with the lanes be­ing stacked on top of each other. Not only does this make for a novel take on the tried and true MOBA map lay­out, it also means that the lad­ders and por­tals con­nect­ing lanes be­come am­bush points for un­wary play­ers. The jun­gle style lanes are pop­u­lated with mobs that can be killed for XP and team buffs in tra­di­tional MOBA fash­ion.

Although the per­spec­tive is new, the main flow of the game is quite tra­di­tional, with two teams fight­ing to de­stroy the other team’s tow­ers to give them ac­cess to de­stroy their base. Where things be­come a lit­tle more in­ter­est­ing is the fact that there is no mouse aim­ing needed for ranged abil­i­ties – at­tacks can only be di­rected left or right, mak­ing com­bat feel a whole lot more fran­tic and im­me­di­ate. Whether this will ap­peal to hard­ened LoL or Dota 2 play­ers is up in the air, but for some­one who hasn’t been able to get into MOBAs as a whole, the im­me­di­acy has some gen­uine ap­peal. Hy­per Universe is cur­rently in early ac­cess with no solid date for re­lease as of yet.

Tavish is into any game where a vam­pire can fight a tiger cub rid­ing a rhino.

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