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Hypnospace Outlaw

Developer: Tendershoot Publisher: No More Robots
12 March 2019
Hypnospace Outlaw - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.94 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
518 Ratings / 1 Reviews
#235 All-time
#9 for 2019
It's 1999, and Merchantsoft has begun to hire members of the public as Enforcers for its sleep-time virtual reality service, Hypnospace. Given a special headband used only by Enforcers, players must take orders to investigate terms of service breaches by Hypnospace's diverse and colorful userbase.
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One of the most unique titles I've played
For awhile now I've pondered the question of how games would look in an alternate timeline? Would we develop the same genres? Would new genres emerge that would fade over time due to it feeling "dated"? What experiments would happen? As I've argued with myself about this, it's fitting that this game takes place in an alternate universe and feels like a new genre. Point and click doesn't do this justice, if anything it plays closer to a text adventure as you're scouring for files and enforcing the web. The world these devs have created is creative, it's hilarious (truly this is one of the funniest games I've ever played), and there's just so much to explore. It's a love letter to 90s internet while not just being endless 90s references. You learn the story of this game not through your actions, but through the voyeuristic pursuit of pursuing the web. This is truly something unique and it's executed incredibly well. As a piece of art I couldn't recommend this more.

However, as a game it does fall flat in some of it's puzzles. Some puzzles are just way too easy, while others make some 90s point n click puzzles seem like a 2013 Triple A puzzle. I think the game is also paced quite poorly during the 3rd (and to a lesser extent the 4th) act. During this period there's not really enough new content to keep you really invested like I was at the start. The 3rd act really needed a few more new pages to give the player a reason to keep exploring. This is a bit hard to say considering how much of a web this game has, but at least splitting up some content might have been nice.

If the sequel of this game improves on the gameplay while keeping the charm and genius worldbuilding, I think it may have a chance of being an all time fav for me.
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OGDreamcast 2024-03-26T03:39:08Z
2024-03-26T03:39:08Z
4.0
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Hypnospace Outlaw invokes a time that I was not alive to experience outside of a few very early childhood memories. Despite this fact, the game enraptured me with its very impressive emulation of late 90s internet and its beautiful and tragic stories of the people who used it. The initial setup of the game has you tasked with responding to different forms of cases that need to be solved inside the fictional online world of Hypnospace. These cases range from extremely simple menu navigation to complicated puzzles that require your full knowledge of your tool set in order to uncover important information. The game uses a lot of variety within each of the cases in order to slowly make you accustomed to what is possible within Hypnospace. The biggest and most fascinating thing about this game for me is being a fly on the wall and just watching how the different users of Hypnospace interact with one another and change throughout the course of the game.

One thing we have seemingly lost with how streamlined internet use has become is the personalization and creativity found in the simple act of creating a home page. One of the best feelings I had while playing this game was going into a new zone, checking out the homepages there and slowly piece together the lives of each of the users and their relationships with one another. Witnessing the painful death of a music genre, the immature rivalry of prepubescents and the sad existence of users seeking to belong is what I loved most about my time with this game. The amount of stories to uncover is astounding with my playthrough ending with about 40% of the pages still needing to be visited. I think there is something so interesting about people trying to design a space for themselves and you being unable to unravel their lives through the navigation of said space. In terms of these features alone I think Hyponspace is worth checking out.

Outside of the page exploration the game slowly lost me with the increasing complexity of some of the cases. Some of the last few cases of the game require a lot of knowledge about searching for secret links and using different applications with each other. This side of the game didn't interest me nearly as much as just simply observing people. I ended up using a guide for the last few cases but I would imagine if you are really interested in detective work, these parts will scratch that itch.

It can’t be understated how impressive the game is from an artistic standpoint. The replication of all the cheesy and edginess that is associated with 90s internet culture is done so with a reverence for this period of time. As such it's definitely one worth checking out.
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ThatOneLupin 2023-07-31T18:30:42Z
2023-07-31T18:30:42Z
3.5
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Incredible art direction and writing, taking you right back to the late 90s internet and full of references of the era. Truly unique experience. The gameplay itself is so-so, with the puzzles ranging from easy and straightforward to incredibly cryptic and frustrating.
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UntilImSane 2023-07-09T14:05:12Z
2023-07-09T14:05:12Z
3.5
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Recommended by lpslucasps on this list.

I've managed to shoot myself in the foot a little bit by promising to "review" anything on the aforementioned list, as this game has proven to be an especially difficult one. I've got a lot on my mind after playing it and I'm going to have to cheat a little bit with the format, because I don't think I can nicely condense this down into a single review with a coherent theme.

- Loads of nostalgic authenticity throughout the experience. I don't think this comes as a surprise to anyone given that it's the most surface-level observation, but it's true. I was born at the right time and raised by a tech-savvy mom, allowing me to witness the end of this era of the internet, even if I was a little young. There's a lot of nuggets here that are so easy to forget in the era of WordPress and Squarespace sites prepared straight out of the can, adhering to good graphic design principles.

- It's a little uncomfortable seeing how little some things have changed. There are still painfully earnest posts from children and teens trying to figure things out, every new technology is still a fight between little Davids trying to unseat massive, corporate Goliaths before they take over the Cool New Thing™. Communities have always had awful shit that moderators are woefully unequipped to handle, on platforms that the creators don't even fully understand...

- ...and it all reminds me of being at work. I work in IT and found myself slipping into work mode a lot here, forced to emotionally detach myself from the cases/tickets I'm working on. I see your very real, very serious harassment case, and I can't do anything to punish them because I don't have the tools. I am powerless, except when it comes to ruining someone's day because a policy they've never read said posting a picture of a cartoon fish is an actionable offense. New fires will always ignite as you're putting out the old ones, and moderators are given this cruel, Sisyphean task of rectifying every possible issue on a platform using extremely limited tools that are hardly suited to the task.

- I feel like a lot of my enjoyment is tethered to my own memory of the ugly, poorly laid-out webpages of old (complete with horrendously compressed gifs, videos, and music). I can't speak to how it'll play for those without the memories - the memories aren't important for knowledge reasons, but for patience reasons. This game is full of tedium, and while I'm not trying to pitch this as some "zoomers will hate this!", I would personally be a little annoyed by it all if it didn't remind me of times where I was younger and dumber. If you get past that (or don't care), there's a lot of love here - love for technology of the past, and love for the people that use it. It's a pretty little digital diorama, and I like what it represents.

- I stand with Gooper
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jobosno 2021-12-04T07:33:14Z
2021-12-04T07:33:14Z
8.0 /10
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Catalog

Truckermusicyeaah Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-06-11T19:15:28Z
2024-06-11T19:15:28Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Pinao Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-06-11T15:42:06Z
2024-06-11T15:42:06Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Magic8Ball Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-06-11T03:58:59Z
2024-06-11T03:58:59Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
skyline_2 Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-06-09T03:36:35Z
2024-06-09T03:36:35Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
TeenageAlt Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-06-08T14:46:45Z
2024-06-08T14:46:45Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
deieb Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-06-07T20:51:56Z
2024-06-07T20:51:56Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Gidrant Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-06-05T20:08:49Z
2024-06-05T20:08:49Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
superae Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-06-05T07:15:59Z
2024-06-05T07:15:59Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
TortillaCat Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-06-04T20:55:33Z
2024-06-04T20:55:33Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
poquemon666 Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-06-03T15:11:08Z
2024-06-03T15:11:08Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Rippeul Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-05-31T22:14:05Z
2024-05-31T22:14:05Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MaestroOak Hypnospace Outlaw 2024-05-28T04:50:03Z
2024-05-28T04:50:03Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • Previous comments (28) Loading...
  • thankgodforworkerbees 2023-08-23 22:03:36.084834+00
    deck stacked like the best of them
    reply
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  • Convalescence 2023-08-25 10:27:56.134944+00
    amazing game that is unfortunately clunky n cumbersome to actually play. not loving the puzzles either.

    still so special regardless but I wish I enjoyed it more
    reply
    • Awesomov 2023-10-25 07:29:00.628715+00
      90s Internet was also clunky and cumbersome.
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  • TheRealJimMorrison 2023-09-29 09:39:27.477028+00
    COUNSELOR RONNIE REPORTING FOR DUTY
    reply
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  • guidop 2023-11-05 04:54:20.082748+00
    I NEED DREAMSETTLER
    reply
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  • Kittehgod 2023-12-24 05:47:21.612879+00
    love this game so much, dreamsettler cant come soon enough
    reply
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  • longestseason 2024-02-26 16:16:38.851205+00
    the sequel looks even better
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  • W28Mews 2024-06-01 06:11:29.328297+00
    now downloading granny cream
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