HYPERCHARGE: Unboxed is a unique, FPS Romp through the world of a toy as you battle it out across a range of locations including a child’s play room, a bathroom, a kitchen, and numerous other household environments. Step into the plastic boots of one of three action figures (complete with accessories and multiple points of articulation) for some high octane, tower defense destruction! Defend three power cores using your wits, weapons, and a few batteries scattered around the environment while fending off hordes of robots, spinning tops, and little green and tan army men. Developer Digital Cybercherries, a small team of 5, is committed to making HYPERCHARGE: Unboxed the best game that it can be and will be monitoring player feedback and working closely with the community to improve the game. Players can learn more about the game and reach out to the developer on the game’s Steam page or the official Discord.
HYPERCHARGE: Unboxed is a first person shooter and features only violence against toys so there is no blood, gore, or viscera to speak of. There is also no language, drug use, or sexual content of any kind is present in the game (well, maybe and innuendo or two).
HYPERCHARGE: Unboxed tells the story of Sgt. Max Ammo and his epic mission to defend the HYPER-CORE. Players are tasked with defending their cores with a range of characters, weapon upgrades, and defensive traps to prevent the enemy hordes from destroying all that they hold dear. All characters, weapons, skins, and traps can be unlocked through regular gameplay and the game does not include micro-transactions of any kind.
HYPERCHARGE: Unboxed is the FPS game that the Switch needs right now. It comes complete with all the features players would expect including numerous progression upgrades to unlock, various character classes, a range of interesting locations to explore, and solid gunplay. This is some of the best first person shooting the Switch has to offer as I didn’t encounter even the slightest bit of lag or stuttering during my time with the game, and this was across, PVP, Co-op, and Single Player modes.
There are three primary ways to play HYPERCHARGE. Venture out alone to get a feel for each location and find the best sniper perches and vantage points for a match. Then, try your luck in PVP and battle it out in deathmatch and a host of other competitive modes with up to 7 other players to dominate the toy box! If you’re the more cooperative type, then every level can be explored with up to three friends as you work together to fight off increasingly difficult waves of enemies and defend those hyper-cores.
Gameplay is fast, fun, and snappy, shooting carnage. Players can find action figure packages throughout the environment that act as an in-game store, allowing them to purchase various weapon attachments and upgrades with currency earned by exploring each environment and defeating enemies. But the bulk of play time is spent between each enemy wave beefing up defenses with various traps that include glue puddles for slowing down enemies, bombs, and anti-air missiles. Turn your standard rifle into a grenade launcher or shot gun by finding various upgrades hidden in each level and blow those robots to bits! Running low on health? Find some cherries (I see what the developer did there) to replenish your HP and get back in the fight.
While HYPERCHARGE just launched at the end of January, the developer is committed to bringing more content to the game soon. They’ve even released a roadmap of what players can expect in the months to come, with voice chat, new modes and characters set to be added.
If I had one complaint about HYPERCHARGE, it would be that finding the three hidden collectibles in each location can feel frustrating as a lot of them are hidden well off the beaten path and require pinpoint precision platforming to reach. This wouldn’t be so bad if players weren’t limited to a small box in each environment. What I mean by this is that players can venture out only as far as the game’s invisible barrier allows them. This made it difficult to obtain these collectibles as I could see where I needed to go, but the most obvious route (or at least, what I felt was the most obvious route) fell outside of the boundaries of this barrier and I could find no other method to reach the collectible.
This is a bit of a double-edged sword as the developer is committed to making all progression unlocks available through normal gameplay. This means that no micro-transactions of any kind are present in the game. They will also not be added at a later date. While this is great because players only need to pay for the game itself to enjoy all of the content it has to offer, some of the unlocks are frustratingly difficult to obtain and some players may not be patient enough to do what is necessary to unlock them. I, on the other hand, WILL figure out how to reach that last collectible on Operation Alley, even if it kills me! And it has, multiple times, as I died trying to reach it instead of killing enemies and defending the power cores.
Another thing I wasn’t too thrilled about is the lack of distinction between the different action figures and classes. Right now we have a G.I. Joe replica, a lizard man, and a medieval knight available as playable characters. None of these three have any distinguishing characteristics or exclusive abilities that set them apart from the other, and there is no real difference between each “class”. Players also don’t currently have the ability to create pre-set loadouts and different combinations of character types. So, while it’s cool that I can unlock new gear for my knight or dinosaur guy, I have to manually go and select each look every time instead of being able to save a pre-set.
As this is only a minor issue and really comes down to personal preferences, I am sure it will be resolved in the future content updates that the developers have outlined in their roadmap. I would just love to see loadouts and maybe even specific special abilites for each type of character to really give players a way to build their own unique soldier and play style. Despite these complaints, which are more just nitpicks on my part, the game is a fanstastic plastic party that everyone should check out on Switch!
That being said, I love the customization overall. Not only can players change the look of their character, but there is a fun and hilarious random name generator so players can create some really humorous names for their soldier. My personal favorite is Ruby Ricochet Ghost! Even the background color of the customization screen can be changed to the player’s liking along with the music that plays while customizing.
The strongest part of the game is the environments. I really got a sense of scale in the bathroom level (cheekily titled “No. 2”) as I had to climb onto a laundry basket, then the heating unit on the wall just to reach and defend the hyper-core that was in the shower. Another level set in a toy store that was clearly meant to be a riff on Toys R Us features shelves of action figures, doll houses, and other toys and items that can be used to reach a cozy sniper nook or to provide cover from the toy plane that flies by on a routine bombing run. The attention to detail is insane! The graphics are excellent, especially for the Switch, and each gun sounds formidable and powerful.
Not only are the environments littered with items and signs that poke fun at or call back to iconic brands (like Toys R Us) but the amount of detail in even the basic gameplay is astounding. On one level, as I helped my online teammates defend our cores from wave after wave of little plastic green and tan army men, a toy plane flew by overhead dropping more army men onto our position. Launching myself up to a higher perch, I began to shoot down at these soldiers and their parachutes as they floated to the ground. Each shot riddled the parachutes with bullet holes and the more holes I put into it, the faster the soldiers fell. It was a neat visual touch that translated to the gameplay and I love that the developer took the time to include that much detail in the combat.
HYPERCHARGE: Unboxed is the Switch shooter for die-hard fans of online shooters. There is something here for everyone and I don’t think I have had this much fun earning progression unlocks before. I normally would find Tower Defense gameplay boring, but the vast assortment of traps, weapon attachments, and environmental vantage points make each combat encounter fun, unique, and exciting, leaving me wanting more every time.
HYPERCHARGE is a hard game to put down and it runs great in both docked and undocked modes. The controls are smooth and work well, and there is even the option for gyroscope aiming for those who prefer it. A lot of online games on Switch live or die by their online community, and within the first week of launch I was concerned that the community would fade and it would be hard to find matches. I’ve never been happier to report that this was not the case with HYPERCHARGE. I rarely had difficulty finding a match and even if we didn’t get a full team by the time the match started, I had a full squad of four by the end of the 1st wave and it was rare that leaving to find a new match would place me with the same players I had matched with before. I only hope that this continues to be the case going forward as Digital Cybercherries continues to support the game in the months to come. I can’t wait to see what they pull out of the toy box next!
Review copy generously provided by Digital Cybercherries.
The Bottom Line
With deep character customization, excellent tower defense gameplay, and customization that allows you to play how you want, HYPERCHARGE: Unboxed is the FPS game that relives your childhood fantasy of toys coming to life.