When I first noticed a game by the name ‘Hyperlight EX’ had been released for Nintendo 3DS, I immediately informed the team at PSVG that we had to find out more about this game. To be 100% forthright, just seeing this trailer is really all you need to know about this game. Hyperlight EX is a psychedelic arcade space shooting game that is all about surviving through waves of enemies and topping that high score. Once you see some gameplay, you might instantly remember the fun you had playing a Galaga (if you’re as old as Kevin) or, more recently, maybe Geometry Wars.

Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself;

See, I told you! The beauty with arcade games is that old adage rings true: what you see is what you get. That couldn’t be more applicable than here with Hyperlight EX. The real question you want answered is, “Is this game worth your hard-earned coin?”

Well, I’m happy to inform you that it is, with the caveat that you enjoy these type of games. If you played Geometry Wars or Resogun, and you hated it, maybe you should skip this one. However, if you enjoyed either of those games and own a 3DS, I would classify Hyperlight EX as a “must own” game. First and foremost, this mobile-turned 3DS game will only run you $5.49 on the Nintendo eShop. That’s far from breaking the bank for anyone that already owns a 3DS. More importantly, like most games that adopt retro-style visuals, Hyperlight EX looks incredible in 3D especially on the New 3DS. Also deserving of your dollar is the music that plays while you play Hyperlight. The fun disco, to techno/dance, to electronica chip tunes that play while you evade and destroy opposing enemy ships is very upbeat, and definitely worth the use of headphones.

But how does the game play!? As with any arcade game, all that matters is how well it plays. THIS GAME IS NOT A TWIN STICK SHOOTER. While the easiest comparison to make is Geometry Wars, this game does play remarkably different. In Hyperlight EX, the player controls a ship with the left-thumbstick navigate around enemies. Running into enemies will get you killed and abruptly stall your progress. Using the ‘A’ button will put your ship into hyperlight mode, allowing you to attack your combatants. That hyperlight is limited, however, by a gauge that depletes as you hold that A button. Once tapped out, you will need to locate the raindrop icons that pop up to refill that meter as you dodge and weave your enemies. Of course, a game like this wouldn’t be nearly as fun without a few power-ups & Hyperlight EX brings those too. You’ll encounter shield power-ups, allowing you to take a hit without dying, and also drones & turrets that expand upon your basic offensive arsenal. Honestly, everything you would expect from a game like this is here for you to discover.

This game is not without faults, though. Hyperlight EX features 3 modes:

  • Arcade: a survival mode with 50+ levels (I didn’t make it past level 12!)
  • Infinity: a 3 life, very similar to Geometry Wars, mode that is perfect for short plays and score chasing.
  • Panic: by far the worst of the 3, in my opinion. This mode is based on motion controls where the 3DS is meant to be laid flat in front of you (such as on a table) and not in front of you (like a steering wheel).

Did I mention that I didn’t get past level 12 in Arcade mode? Yeah, the game is pretty tough. In my 10 hours of playing, I died 10x more than I advanced a level. The panic mode is something I would encourage you to completely skip altogether. Also, the leaderboards are currently for local play only (not-online), which kind of defeats the purpose of having a leaderboard on a device like 3DS, and lessens the desire to go “score chasing.”

Hyperlight EX was reviewed on New Nintendo 3DS using a code provided by the publisher. The developer does state that this game is for New Nintendo 3DS, however the Nintendo website states simply “Nintendo 3DS” so I am still unclear if this is a New Nintendo 3DS exclusive. You can read additional information about PSVG’s review policy on our disclaimer page here.

Good use of $6