We got excited at the prospect of Hyper Jam, touted as a fast-paced Arena Brawler game coming from a small Australian Studio: Bit Dragon.

The trailer was in many ways enticing for someone like me born on the late seventies. Gorgeous neon flooded images were appealing to my “retro senses”, though recent video game history showed that this is often a trap making way for poor quality games. Recently Marco reviewed Battlerite Royale, that appeals to the same mob, with great praise, so the expectations were high.

So I jumped to the game with mixed feelings of hope and apprehension, to find a glowing atmosphere which is indeed soaked in neon as promised, with the kitsch beauty of old but still holding the expected modern design features. The main menu UI is simple, effective and in general good. The synthwave sound is felt from the very beginning and sets the tone perfectly. To compose the soundtrack Bit Dragon got french synthwave artist Carpenter Brut that made an incredible job creating for Hyper Jam.

Hyper Jam offers a single player option to play against bots which must be considered for the tutorial purpose only. As for the online component, and also the multiplayer mode it offers matches ranging from 1v1 to 4 players all out battle.

The 6 arenas are all different and all have their own challenges, each has obstacles which make you play differently. These arenas all look very good and detailed so it was quite joyful to enjoy each of them. We can choose from a pool of 4 playable characters, these mainly vary is aesthetics. Once we are inside the arena, the action unfolds fast as we race towards the nearest weapon to promptly dispatch our opponents. In several rounds, players must reach 1500 points after that one must survive the next round in order to “remain in the game”. Besides the race to reach the aforementioned score, there is a very compelling mechanic in the perk system.

I believe this perk system to be one of the highest points in Hyper Jam. It gives several possibilities of builds, either speed, survivability, control or just damage. All this with a very nice twist, you choose your perks after every round is finished and the first to pick is always the bottom player and that makes a very good comeback mechanic as I often found myself in the bottom in the early rounds just to climb back to the top and getting to the end game with the best perks.

Also very entertaining is the mechanic that allows a player, when dead, to hit another player with an energy blast, something that goes a long way to prevent the leading player to take more rounds since he will be chased by those already dead while fighting living opponents. The matches are very fast paced and entertaining I find myself coming back for more every time I have small time slots to fill and I can’t wait to play this with my children anticipating some good time spent.

I must admit that the time I spent testing before launch was quite frustrating since there was no way to connect an online match.

Players were nowhere to be found and since it is designed mainly for online multiplayer matches I was ready to quit on this review. Fortunately as soon it got launched it got great traction and matches are now quite easy to find. At the time I’m writing this review it had sold approximately  20k copies in the Steam platform and for sure some more on Xbox One and PS4.

I must give Bit Dragon credit for making this cross-platform game because it’s perfect for this effect. And we know how hard is for a small indie studio to make this happen especially because they committed hard on this by going all in and getting dedicated servers to make sure the players get the best possible experience and avoiding the constraints found in P2P connections.

A couple of details were not as good as the rest: I was unable to map my controls either in my control pad or keyboard and I really disliked this. The personalization of the characters with the earned loot is a bit obscure and not intuitive at all.

But all together I had great fun with Hyper Jam and I believe it is well worth the 9.70€ on Steam.