20 seconds to go...
You see a semicircle of red squares approaching, but nothing too dangerous. You can weave your way around.
15 seconds to glory...
Homing triangles and aimed hexagons begin to approach. Luckily you're in a good position to get around it all.
10 seconds. Satisfaction is almost there...
Crosses and homing stars? Luckily you saw a way out at the last second.
This is the loop for Hyperdot. Survive to complete some task. Usually it's just survive, but there are some alternative tasks in there.
Hyperdot has been described a few different ways by people. My first impression reminded me of the game Super Hexagon. Others compare it to the Pacifist mode in Geometry Wars. Both a quite apt. The game is a mix. Geometry Wars Pacifist mode had a very random spawn to how you were attacked while Super Hexagon was more about patterns that repeated themselves. Hyperdot really does mix these things together.
Let's break down the gameplay.
There are 3 main modes - Survival, Area, and Collect.
Survival is just that. Last a set amount of time. Area has you trying to maintain a particular amount of time in random circles that appear in the level. Finally, Collect requires you to collect tokens on the level that appear every so often.
All these level types can be modified in countless ways. From your size and speed to how the level operates around you or what kind of power-ups (if any) show up. Some of the most interesting level modifiers included Ice Physics, Dark Levels, and even a Super Hot style time freeze/dilation.
The game focuses around a set of 100 challenges (and 5 secret, "impossible" trials). As you complete the ones available, more and more are unlocked. These levels show you some of the possibilities in the game. One of my favorite level types were more like puzzles than straight survival challenges. There would be one specific solution you'd need to work out to have a chance of lasting.
You can then look at these levels to begin designing your own levels. All the obstacles and modifiers in the base game can be used there. The tools are there to create your own devilish designs.
Finally, there are some endless modes where you can also apply variations to the levels and see how long you can last. There are even achievements tied to surviving some very challenging setups and combinations.
All of these elements combine for a great single player experience. You'll play a level and have to learn to observe what you're doing that is or isn't working. Each death is an opportunity. Sometimes you'll be annoyed at what happened and think the game cheated you, but most of the time you'll be able to see what you did wrong and begin to plan out a new strategy for next time to not get trapped.
With all this positive, why am I only giving it a 4? The thing is, there are some missing elements.
1) Online Functionality - Sadly, there isn't a way to share your creations. Part of the fun of creating things would be to send them to other people and try their own ideas. Additionally, there are no leaderboards. Those endless modes really would be amazing to compare and compete with others on. I can see how I am doing, but without a way to compare with friends, it feels like a massive opportunity is missing.
2) RNG - This is a double edged sword. While the survival levels have a very methodical/set pattern each time you play (with possibly some variations), the collect/area levels can be made near impossible depending on the layout you get. For example, I've seen tokens to collect constantly spawn in the center of a level with red squares always clustered there. It means you can't just do the level the same way every time (which allows you to learn and get better), but it also will lead to frustrating rounds that feel out of your control with no chance of success.
Overall though, Hyperdot is a great game. I know the price tag has been an obstacle for many, but let me assure this is a great game. If I still haven't convinced you completely, hopefully you'll give the game a look during a sale in the future. If either of the games I compared it to are ones you find enjoyable, then Hyperdot should scratch that itch for you as well.