Ultra Hyperball (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Shane Jury 15.08.2017

Review for Ultra Hyperball on Nintendo Switch

Nearly five months have passed since the release of the Nintendo Switch, and upon its tremendous sales numbers, developer support has grown substantially. Not so much from the bigger third party publishers, most of which seem to prefer a wait and see approach, but from independent developers via the eShop. Many strong names, such as Minecraft and Rocket League, have released or been announced for a date later in the year, and many other independently developed titles have been given a Switch SKU in addition to the original target consoles, like Rime and Yooka-Laylee to name a couple. Every now and then, a Switch exclusive downloadable sneaks through, and from small publisher Springloaded comes one such title: Ultra Hyperball. Does the game soar majestically or sink like a rock?

Much like the premise of its namesake, Ultra Hyperball's narrative structure is very simple. Living in the world of a popular sport called Hyperball, protagonist Jay seeks to leave behind his mediocre life at his parents' noodle shop and pursue a higher calling. Told through cutscenes just before levels, Jay can rise all the way to the top of the Hyperball Federation tryouts and achieve his dreams. These cutscenes have a large amount of text dialogue, but are very brief and skippable. It's a neat little pixel-coated yarn told to weave the levels together, but largely unimportant to the gameplay at hand.

Namely, the Hyperball itself. The game begins with a useful tutorial explaining the starting rules; a player of the sport has to jump in place to header a Hyperball higher and higher in the air. Done via a simple button press, the key is timing; hitting the ball at the full height of the jump will knock it further into the sky than if done mid-jump, for example. Hitting certain heights will award medals and progress onto the next level - Bronze being the one that allows the latter, but Silver and Gold typically unlock new character avatars to choose from, as well. It's an incredibly simple concept that is almost offputtingly so at first glance, but provides instant accessibility for younger and less experienced players, and also a gratifying challenge for medal collectors, especially when unlocking new avatars to use from the vast potential selection available. The instant understanding of the control scheme helps too, as does the solid framerate the game operates at.

Screenshot for Ultra Hyperball on Nintendo Switch

The levels in Ultra Hyperball are laid out in a grid-like fashion, with each unlocking adjacent squares upon completion. Following down this grid opens up new ways to play the sport, including a couple that make effective use of the Switch's feature set. The Team ruleset is still a solo effort, but requires touchscreen input to make two or more characters alternately. Tilt uses the motion control of the system, separate Joy-Con, or the Switch Pro Controller to guide an avatar around the pitch instead of staying in place, and hitting the Hyperball before other NPCs do. Run is similar, but uses the analogue stick instead, and the Ultimate line of levels mixes up all these rules as an ending to Jay's storyline upon completion. Later unlocked levels within these rulesets can be very difficult, and although there is only five to each one, the medal collecting gives good encouragement to return.

Although Ultra Hyperball begins as a solo-orientated game, it plays home to a surprisingly robust multiplayer component, as well. Using the same grid level structure, two-four players can cooperate in modes that reflect the aforementioned special rulesets, or just go all out against each other in Battle modes instead. The instant accessibility and easy controls give these modes instant appeal, and the dual Joy-Con feature of the Switch further emphasises this. Ultra Hyperball is far from the most sophisticated downloadable game on Switch, but the cheap price and enticing multiplayer component makes it a worthy choice in group play.

Screenshot for Ultra Hyperball on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Ultra Hyperball represents the variety of the eShop that Switch is quickly gaining: short, but highly playable and unique experiences that cost a fraction of the bigger games. Depth isn't the aim of the concept here; rather a highly accessible, if overly simplistic, game that truly shines in a group gathering.

Developer

Springloaded

Publisher

Springloaded

Genre

Action

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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