The game is a monumental achievement, not just for its detailed rendering of another place and time but for the observed humanity of its writing and the things it has to say about the intersection of capitalism and art.
Hypnospace Outlaw is a perfect recreation of what the internet once was, and in some ways still is: a glorious mess of friendship and anarchy. It’s probably good we don’t have auto-playing music anymore, though.
This game is absolutely fantastic, the writing is great, the humor is dumb and I love it, the music is really good, and I was just really having a lot of fun with this game. The ending even got me kinda emotional, I would 100% reccomend this, might not be everyone's thing but I adore it
Hypnospace Outlaw successfully captures the spirit of late ‘90s internet by creating its own robust and varied and equally strange version of it. One part late ‘90s internet simulator, one part engaging detective story, Hypnospace Outlaw’s hit counter is strong. Zane rocks.
As an exploration of early-ish internet culture, Hypnospace Outlaw demonstrates how far we've travelled online over the past 20 years while at the same time asking whether we've gone anywhere at all. The bandwidth may have improved since 1999 but the content can look all too familiar today.
Hypnospace Outlaw’s imitation of technology from days of yore is commendable, along with capturing the fallible, human ways we interacted with it. Although it may not be the most well-structured experience and is guilty of running its own well of novelty dry, it offers a mostly delightful few hours of misty-eyed laughs and surprises.
Flat-out brilliant '90s satire with a big heart. This thing is so great. Full of dreams and disappointments from the Windows 98 era. But what lifts it above being a hipster vaporwave parody is that it has so much empathy for its characters. Also there is an Linkin Park/Evanescence piss-take that got stuck in my head for days until I had to go create a Genius lyrics page for its unintelligible verses.
DECK STACKED LIKE THE BEST OF 'EM. I TRIED LIKE THE REST OF THEM.
HSO is not only a throwback to a simpler time, but a callout to the dogpiling of the current outrage culture. You play as an enforcer, a user above others with the power to censor and ban others, not arbitrarily though, but through corporate guidelines. This really speaks to the current morality through corporate values that plagues the internet at the moment.
Behind the nostalgic looking pages, wrapped in simple digital music, low resolution gif’s and low-quality video, download managers, antivirus programs, popups and desktop pets is a world that you get to enforce your narrow and arbitrary corporate morality onto the people. And it has consequences. Things happen people revolt, others are dog piled, and even forced off the network.
The casino gulag is a real thing in this game as you have an actual Pavlovian stimulation combined with casino payout for enforcing the corporation’s morality. After you are done turning in friends and family for coin, you can turn the coins in for fabulous rewards like stickers, wallpapers, sound themes and music.
The absolute dystopia of HSO cannot be understated.
Just as you may decide to look the other way when people break said current corporate morality standards, rest assured your other enforcer peers will not relent, and again consequences will happen.
If you don’t feel anything but hypocritical for doing the job and how it evolves then you are too wrapped up in the coins, glitzy pages and snappy tunes to realize what you are doing.
There are genuine people behind these pages, just as the actual content was hand created by a person. There were no shortcuts you can see from the devlogs that this was all hand crafted. Sadly, it shows that when you lower the bar to being abusive people abuse. If anything, it just speaks to us as a society on how poorly we handle this interconnected world, and how polarized we make it.
It’s an engaging game if you don’t get distracted by the incredible polish of the in game UI/OS. It’s skinnalbe, themeable with aforementioned stickers, wall papers, a media player, hidden music downloads, piracy and even larceny! Just like the real thing! But the larger lesion is that getting your morals from profit driven corporations only makes you the stooge. I’d dare say there is a further unsaid religious lesson going on, but I’m sure that’s up to the individual.
10/10 simply for the world building, the UI and the aesthetic. Everything else is an added bonus.
It starts well, however the execution of the idea could be better in terms of puzzle/case structure. Namely, various puzzles/cases are structured so chaotically that it may become annoying solving them not because it's inherently hard but mainly because the way of thinking of the designer might had been weird. or because it may have had a lot of grinding.
OK, it could be considered an 8/10 but I have to give it a more modest score to differentiate it from a category that means "definitely great". What is certain is that you will either LOVE it or at least find it INTERESTING.
Sidenote: It's a fine game but when I hear that it's a faithful recreation of the internet back then I do not agree by far. I did live through that era, as an adult, and on the internet, and it was clearly not that silly. Sure, there were pages like the silliest examples here but in no way they were a majority. In fact the majority of users up to ~2000 were computer nerds or literal computer professionals so the most "comic sans-esque" pages were usually laughed at. In fact, the trendiest web page type for a long time was simple html with very little images, but in any case, the most flashy examples were usually laughed at. This game can be excused of course, because it doesn't literally show the internet but a **** limited version of it manipulated by a corrupt company so I'm only referring to those calling it faithful to the internet era.
Let me be honest with you but, this is not what you think, at least for me. This is one of the most uncomfortable experiences I have ever had. Believe me here, DO NOT buy this game if you don't like to be uncomfortable. The viruses, the apps, and more, just makes you really uncomfortable. 10/100
SummaryGreetings Enforcer, and thank you for enlisting in the Hypnospace Patrol Department. As the world falls into its slumber, Hypnospace becomes a bustling global village. These virtual streets aren't going to police themselves.