Coverage Club is our weekly series of smaller impressions in the style of full reviews. Games can range from brand new titles hitting Early Access to older hidden gems that never got their due. No matter your preference, you’re sure to find something off the beaten path here.
War! What is it good for? To give a spoiler, absolutely nothing.
The original Coverage Club duo are going to battle! Whether you're marching through the procedural dungeons of Hypergun or shipping off to the Gearguns Tank Offensive, just know that we're with you and there are more video games ahead.
Covered by Alex Santa Maria
When it comes to first-person roguelikes, guns have proven to be tricky. While there have been several valiant attempts, it's always the melee-based games that thrive. Hypergun tackles the issue from a unique perspective, focusing your upgrades solely on a single assault rifle. As you progress, you strap on more and more weapon parts until you're carrying around a true beast. This pitch is a strong one, but getting my hands on NVYVE Studios' latest project reveals a lot of the issues that always seem to plague this type of experience.
For example, the variety on display is lacking. Enemies almost all fall under the "fast zombie" archetype, where they hoard you with sheer numbers and melee attacks. As you run around trying to thin the herd, the few enemies that do have projectiles fire at you constantly. It would be fine if this was one room you ran into during your run, but this scenario just plays on repeat throughout the entire experience. Going through these gauntlets repeatedly is tiring, and nothing but a grenade launcher attachment will get you far.
Now, level repetition is manageable if something else is driving you. You'd expect that to be the weapon variety, but Hypergun fails to deliver yet again. Sure, you get randomized weapons parts, but hours and hours of grind stand between you and the majority of the arsenal. You don't unlock new weapon parts for doing well or achieving goals, you just pray to see a certain currency so you can expand the pool. Most of the default parts are simple stat boosts that don't significantly change your experience. Sure, it's charming that you can add a corn silencer that adds popcorn visuals, but that charm is fleeting.
Even if it is repetitious, an FPS can get by if the shooting itself is enjoyable. No matter how many times you blow through a DOOM or a Halo, you're still going to have fun on gameplay alone. Unfortunately, Hypergun fails this test as well. No matter what addons you get, no matter how much damage you're doing, the titular firearm feels piddly. Enemies sponge up shots like there's no tomorrow and the animation of the gun is criminally weak.
Everything that surrounds Hypergun's lackluster gameplay makes me wish I was having more fun. The soundtrack, while repetitive, is exactly the kind of synthy nonsense that's perfect for an over the top shoot 'em up. The graphics are colorful and loud, and the enemy designs are unique and interesting even when their actions are standard and boring. The game's premise of building the ultimate gun to fend off alien invaders is well-told through some bits of lore in the hub area, and the special powers of each class are thematic and humorous.
It's clear that a lot of effort was put into Hypergun, but maybe not in the right places. While the presentation is loud and boisterous, the core of the experience is stale and repetitive. No matter how much shine you put on a shooter, the act of firing a weapon has to be enjoyable, especially when it's the sole focus of the game's progression. If this initial hurdle isn't cleared, the rest of the experience falls by the wayside. All that's left is a strong pitch and a whole lot of unfulfilled potential.
Hypergun was covered on PC via Steam with a code provided by the publisher.
Gearguns Tank Offensive
Covered by Samuel Guglielmo
It feels like there have been many attempts to make a B-movie video game. Something that's so bad it's good. While I can think of a couple of successes, games like Deadly Premonition or Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death, most of these games don't turn out very well. Gearguns Tank Offensive feels like another stab at that B-movie video game. It's... quite a miss.
I honestly can't tell you what the game's story is. The best I can figure is that aliens are invading Earth. You have a super cool tank which lets you fight the aliens. Go do that. There's voice acting, but all the voices are really quiet and muffled so I couldn't understand what anyone was saying for the life of me. I don't think it really mattered in the end.
You get to drive around in your tank, shooting up aliens. To do this you have four main weapons: a cannon, flamethrower, machine gun, and missiles. No matter how hard I tried I could only ever get much use out of the machine gun. It's so overwhelmingly overpowered when compared to everything else that I'm not sure why you'd bother using anything else. You'll be doing the simple actions of driving around and gunning down swarms of enemies.
Boring swarms of enemies. I'm not actually sure most of these guys even fight back. Often I'd sit around doing nothing, and watch enemies just sort of run up to me and drop dead. Before long I was just wondering when the levels would end. I felt myself starting to fall asleep, holding down the W key as I moved forward in levels pointlessly. There was some minor joy in the way things just bounced off my tank as I drove through them, but it wasn't nearly enough to keep me interested in the game.
Sometimes the game saw me hop into an aircraft and played like an on-rails shooter instead. It's not any more fun. Once again most enemies just flew by or around me, seemingly doing little other than begging to die. While I occasionally had to shoot someone down, I came way closer to death during one of these segments than any of the tank ones, most of the time I just wondered when on Earth the level would end. The on-rails segments just went on far too long, to the point of being painful.
That's really the gist of Gearguns Tank Offensive. The game is overwhelmingly boring. I tried my hardest to find anything that entertained me, but it's a super simple game that does very little. Before long I had more than enough. I can't recommend this title to anyone, even those that enjoy a good B-movie.
Gearguns Tank Offensive was played on PC using a copy provided by the developers.What do you think of this week’s Coverage Club selections? Do you know of an overlooked game that deserves another chance? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow our Steam Curator to keep up to date with all our reviews.