Welcome to HypnoSpace, remember the 90’s internet? When a virus meant annoying popups or premium rate dialers, the only social network you had was MySpace and most of the webpages you visited were on Geocities. Hypnospace is that late 90’s early 00’s internet, except now it’s beamed directly into your minds whilst you sleep, via a headband.
Is it a dream remembered or a noughties nightmare?
Hypnospace Outlaw put’s you in the role of an enforcer. Employed by Hypnospace with the role of cleaning up and enforcing the laws or C.H.I.M.E. which stand ‘s for Content infringement, Harassment, Illegal or profane, Malicious software and Extralegal commerce, these laws serve to protect the users of Hypnospace.
It’s a role you volunteer for, although, you are paid in Hypnocoin (a currency created by Hypnospace) after completing each job. This HypnoCoin can be spent on many extras found within the game, from desktop helpers and antivirus apps, to desktop pets.
My first job is to search for Content infringement in the form of images of a fish detective known as the Gumshoe Gooper. The main way of finding this “Illegal” content is by using the search engine to find pages with keywords. They start out easy to identify, but later require a little more thinking and trial and error, searching pages for alternative identities and hidden passwords which aren’t always strikingly obvious.
Once you’ve found the images, you use your trusty “Ban Hammer” to report the crime. Sometimes there’s only enough evidence to warrant removing the offending content. But as you build more of a case you can recommend a user be banned.
Shortly after removing the images and closing the case, it’s apparent that the user being convicted wasn’t quite the criminal you thought they were. The next job I’m given has me searching for a Hypnospace user accused of harassment, again the case isn’t as straight forward as it’s made out to be, as you begin to find out the user being harassed isn’t as innocent as he first makes out.
The feel of the game reminded me a lot of Orwell, another game set in an alternate history, which puts you in an enforcing role and also making questionable decisions. These decisions often leaving you wondering who the criminals really are. The more I play, the more I’m left feeling and things aren’t all that they seem at Hypnospace.
Overall the mechanics are great and deliver a nostalgic feeling of browsing the internet of yesteryear. The puzzles are challenging giving a sense of satisfaction as well as frustration when things take longer than you feel they should, but isn’t that the joy of a great puzzle game?
If you are familiar with the internet of old, then you’ll feel right at home. On the surface, you may not think the graphics look that great. But the detail that has gone into recreating this retro internet puts a smile on my face, from the images and animated gifs to the various zones that are a rabbit hole of web pages, the internet you once remembered have been faithfully recreated.
There’s not too much to say about the audio, it’s all fitting with the design of the game, from the OS clicks to the loud music that play’s when you visit some Hypnospace pages, all of the music in the game is original and reminds me of my college years spent trawling the internet to the music of Linkin Park and Papa Roach.
Having played through several hours of the game, I’ve enjoyed my time spent in Hypnospace, but I’m unsure if I would return. You really need to play to appreciate the attention to detail that’s gone into recreating the many pages and hangouts on the Hypnospace, It does, however, make me wonder if the game would be so appealing to under ’30s that may not have lived through the internet of old.
The developers have also released software to download which allows you to create your very own Hypnospace page to add to the game which I thought was a pretty neat feature.
If you enjoy point and click games set in an alternate history, border lining dystopian. That has humour which makes you laugh but at the same time cry at an internet that looks and feels like the ’90s but with an attitude that wouldn’t feel out of place in modern times. Then you can’t go wrong with this game. I feel Hypnospace Outlaw earns itself a Silver Thumb.
Disclaimer: We received a Steam key to carry out this review