Hyper-5, A New Shoot’em Up That Works Great on Linux (Proton)

This won’t be some kind of very thorough review, because I have no idea how to finish a shoot’em up without cheating or training for hundred hours to get good enough, but take it as it is: my impression of Hyper-5, a new shoot’em up released a few weeks back.

It happens to work fine on Proton, which is why I could play it. I realize that some of the younger kids out there may not be too familiar with shoot’em ups: this was a genre that was HUGE back in the 80s: there was a whole market for it and everyone back then knew R-Type, ThunderForce, Axelay, Gradius, Parodius, Project-X, Apidya, the 194x series, and that’s just the small tip of the iceberg. This was a different era when people wanted hard core difficulty and enjoyed dozens of sprites on screen at the same time, and huge bosses to go with it.

well before hyper-5, there was r-type among the legendary shoot'em up games
R-Type 2, I think. Great fun.

Let’s not say that the genre died out completely though. The Dreamcast had the legendary Ikaruga for example, that we featured a long time ago because its PC port worked on Linux as well with Proton. Then there’s the niche Touhou Project series that specialize in bullet-hell in Japan and have a very loyal following while they don’t make headlines that much.

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So, the context matters: Hyper-5 comes as a new take on the retro shoot’em ups, similar to R-type in concept, with a reasonable amount of enemies and bullets on screen, while using 3D scenes to its advantage in terms of presentation and various effects (rotation of the playing plane, for example). You’d better watch this short video I made to demonstate what you should expect:

Overall, I like it. It’s approachable, you can upgrade your ship often enough to not get killed completely over time, and it’s tough but not TOO tough for most players. There’s some great efforts that went in the presentation, the different animations among the enemies… and the pace looks good for most of the game I could see: not too repetitive in how the different waves come and go, making you stay on your guard. Well done. The only key issue I could find is that it’s not always very obvious what elements on screen are just part of the background (or pieces of enemies that you destroyed that pose no harm anymore) vs stuff that can kill you. This will cause you to hesitate several times and lead to your doom, while you kind of get used to it. If the dev could fix that, the execution would be almost flawless. (also, add a way to skip some cutscenes when you have already seen them once).

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As mentioned above, its works fine on Proton (it’s a Unity game) and runs at 60FPS even on low-mid range GPU. If you are a bit short on graphics capabilities the game includes FSR in its own options: you can turn it on for better frame rates but I did not need it on my GTX 1060 (or my more recent GTX 1660 Ti).

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