Review – Hypercharge: Unboxed

The Wars of Our Youth

Overview

Developer Digital Cybercherries
Publisher Digital Cybercherries
Genre First Person Shooter, Third Person Shooter
Platforms Xbox Series X | S (Reviewed), PC, Switch
Release Date May 31, 2024 (Xbox Seris S|X)
January 31, 2020 (Switch)
April 27, 2020 (PC)

As time passes, we spiral ever outward toward what is to come, leaving our past behind us as fond memories. Drawing inspiration from nostalgic properties like Small Soldiers and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the team at Digital Cybercherries aimed to capture the spirit of those joyful childhood thoughts while offering an exciting shooter experience with their newest game, Hypercharge: Unboxed. The game is sure to tickle the fancy of millennials who grew up in the 90s with toys and locations not unlike what the game features.

Content Guide

Violence: You’ll be shooting like mad, but none of it has any gore. Toys will break apart as they are destroyed. I don’t see any issues with young eyes watching the gameplay here.

Sexual Content: None. The closest thing would be the characters Valkyrie and Road Warrior, who are dressed like lady American Gladiators from the 90s.

Drugs and Alcohol: None.

Language/Crude Humor: There is an instance of some lighthearted potty humor involving the phrase “if it’s yellow, let it mellow.” There is no vulgar language beyond that.

Dark/Spiritual Content: There are thematic elements of an unused toy turning evil and recruiting evil toys. Known as a “hyper-core,” there’s a magical element that essentially allows kids to keep their nostalgic memories. The evil toy wants to destroy these.

Review

Max Ammo and his cohorts are fighting to repel Major Evil and his minions. That’s the setup for why these toys are fighting one another, and hey, when you’re a kid, you don’t need a lot of reason for the good guys to fight and beat the bad guys, right? Major Evil wanting to destroy the hyper-cores and sever memories between toys and their kids is really a pretty good setup for a play session at the end of the day. Unfortunately, that premise and a voiced scene of a comic still for each mission are about as in-depth as the story gets. It left me wanting for a focused narrative experience.

Instead of a narrative that flows from mission to mission, Hypercharge: Unboxed lets gamers play through a series of horde-mode scenarios a la Gears of War 2. Each mission puts the player and 3 other action figures in some sort of nostalgic setting (90’s kitchen, Toys ‘R Us-like toy store, etc., chock full of time-appropriate apparel) with a few hyper-cores to build defenses around and defend when the waves of evil toys begin rolling in.

The premise is simple, but the game’s enjoyable. The shooting feels good and it’s fun to bebop around all of these locations, exploring all the nooks and crannies as you look for parts to upgrade your weapon or gather coins and secrets. I particularly love the Toy Palace level, which brought me back to my childhood, visiting our local KB Toys with my hard-earned allowance each week. The game has a welcome enemy variety that a lot of my generation (elder millennials) will appreciate. From Green Army Men to G.I. Joe, Power Rangers, My Little Pony, Beyblades, and more, there are plenty of familiar references that will tickle your nostalgic fancy.

True to the callback of a simpler time, the game also has no battle passes or other modern contrivances. They instead look to pad replay value with a TON of characters and customization options to make your action figure truly your own. While I can appreciate the effort to keep things less convoluted and money-grabby, I have to wonder such things would have helped the game have more long-term support. I feel like what Hypercharge: Unboxed does, it does well. I just don’t know if that will be enough to squeeze more than a few days of play from a group of friends.

14 horde-mode missions, a sentimental aesthetic, and player customization give the game its identity. That, unfortunately, leaves the game feeling a little thin otherwise. There’s a full PvP suite here but if I’m being frank, anyone old enough to be involved in more mature games like Call of Duty or the newly minted XDefiant will find those multiplayer offerings to be more robust with better-feeling combat. That said, if you have a group of youngsters interested in getting into shooters together, Hypercharge: Unboxed would be a fantastic option.

I like what Hypercharge: Unboxed is doing. Stepping into my youth as a toy I would’ve played with gives me warm fuzzies all over. I like the wave-based gameplay and all the callbacks to my childhood. The game would be an excellent choice for youngsters wanting to shoot stuff. Unfortunately, I can’t otherwise see Hypercharge: Unboxed warranting long-term play otherwise. I’d love to see Max Ammo and his friends in a fully realized campaign in the future. Digital Cybercherries clearly crafted this fascinating world as a labor of love.

Review copy provided by Digital Cybercherries

The Bottom Line

 

An incredible nostalgic aesthetic and straightforward gameplay model are endearing in the best way but start to feel thin all too quickly.

 

7

Joe Morgan

Husband, gamer, software developer, animal lover. When he's not writing for GeeksUnderGrace, he's probably fishing or working on content with his wife for Coffee and Adventure, their YouTube channel

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