Copyright/Publisher: Odin Computer Graphics, Music by: Keith Tinman,
Release Year: 1986, Genre: Weird Sports, Number Of Players: 1 or 2
Hypaball is a sport of the future in which two teams battle to score the most goals by throwing
a steel sphere into a moving target. The game is three-a-side, with the players wearing jet
packs - essential if they are to reach the target which moves up and down a pole in the centre
of the playing arena. This simulation allows one or two players to replay the 'classic' cup
final match between the Vipers and the Hawks. A computer controlled Vipers team makes up for
the lack of a human opponent in the one-player mode.
Teams are selected from a pnael of ten players before the match begins. They all have different
strengths and weaknesses, the details of which are displayed under their pictures. It's up to
the user to decide which characters are best suited to his or her team.
When the teams have been chosen, play commences with six cheerleaders rising up from under
the playing arena. The teams then appear and take up positions in the arena: one member of
each team stays on the floor, while the other four players take up positions on either side of
the central 'goal pole'. A metal sphere is fired into the arena and the match begins.
The user controls two players at once: lateral joystick movements make the ground player run
left and right, while both lateral and longitudinal movements are used to control the flying
players. Only one flying player is controlled at a time, with the computer automatically
switching control from one player to the other as the ball moves around the screen. The ground
player however, is always under control.
The ball is automatically caught if it comes withing range of any player. The player can then
be moved, and the ball released by pressing the fire button. The ball can only be held for two
and a half seconds - any longer incurs a penalty, and the opposing team is given a free throw
at the goal.
The match is played over ten minutes, after which time the final score is displayed on a
newspaper along with headlines revealing details of the match.
Hypaball is a poor attempt at producing a future sport. If such a game is going to be
impressuve or interesting it has to be atmospheric, original or innovative it its conception,
and most importantly it has to be playable. Hypaball is failrt original, but unfortunelately
it lacks innovation, atmosphere and playability.
There is some initial atmoshere generated by the music and dancing cheerleaders (very cute),
but during play there is no feeling of 'being there' - mainly because the characters and playing
area are so small. More flexibility and variety in gameplay would have helped, but as it stands
Hypaball is far too dull to play - even against a human opponent. I would have expected more than
this simple, unimaginative future sport from a company with Odin's reputation.
Hypaball is very slickly presented and its graphics and sound are great. The major problem
lies in the gameplay. For a start, you can only play one match and are stuck with the same
two teams. Surely it would have been much better if you could choose your team colours and
perhaps input its name- it's little points like that which make a program all the more
The second problem lies in its difficulty, or rather the lack of it. The computer
team only has one skill level which is ridiculously easy to beat. Why not have several levels,
or teams of differing ability? - that would have really made the game. As it stands it's a
pretty miserable affair, with the only saving grace of a two player option - but you can't
really fail with that. Even if you are a future sport fan I'd recommend that you avoid Hypaball
- it looks really appetising on the outside, but once you get your teeth into it, you realise
how bland and boring it actuall is.
After seeing Heartland I was ready to forgive Odin for their recent batch of mediocre software.
But unfortunately along comes Hypaball - their worst game to date. It does have potential
but sadly the programmers haven't utilised it, which is a great shame.
Hypaball fails because it is so incredibly boring - from the first game I found the action
tedious and repetitive. After playing a few games and becoming competent at controlling the
players, the computer team poses no threat whatsoever. Even at budget price this wouldn't be
any big deal - but at just under a tenner... well all I can say is don't bother.