Friday, August 26, 2016

Hyperrogue - 2/20 hours

I can already tell that this is going to be a tough one. My first impression of Hyperrogue is that it is visually arresting with simple yet challenging board-game style gameplay. Which seems easy enough to cope with, once you get used to its level of abstraction. Unfortunately, Hyperrogue also appears to be one of those games that goes out of its way to antagonize its players.

The hyperbolic map appears to serve no other purpose but to confound the player's spatial intuition. I have a degree in pure mathematics, so I have an idea about what's going on with it (though non-euclidean geometry wasn't any kind of specialty of mine), but even with that starting advantage, it's hard to get my abstract mathematical knowledge to override decades of experience navigating a more-or-less euclidean frame of reference (I mean, technically, we live on the surface of a sphere, which is its own form of non-euclidean geometry, but unless you're piloting an intercontinental jet plane, the scale of the sphere is so large that any non-euclidean effects would be smaller than the rounding error). The practical upshot is that it's really easy to get lost.

I already hate getting lost. Combine that with a roguelike's ethos of easy death and lack of cumulative progress and you get a game seemingly calculated to wear down my spirit.

Though it does have some strong points. Outmaneuvering enemies board-game style to clear out a long train of harassers is very satisfying. And the different biomes each have their own characteristic challenges that make give your longer runs some much needed variety in what could easily have been a compulsive click-fest.

It's still to early to reach a final verdict about this game. It's possible that increased experience with the game will make it inot a light and breezy casual game. It's almost equally probable that I will get sick to death of it after hour 5 and will just take up bashing the keyboard senselessly in an attempt to kill time as efficiently as possible.

1 comment:

  1. Some players do get lost easily, both in real life and games, and they love HyperRogue because (1) it is by design not because of their fault, (2) even though they get lost, this has no real bad consequences :) Except the Yendor Quest, there is nothing bad in getting lost in HyperRogue.