Recently, roguelike games have been making a comeback, and few releases encompass the genre more than Troglobyte Games' HyperParasite. The title hearkens back to an era of difficult roguelike games that punished players brutally for every misstep and death. Despite HyperParasite having a few intriguing mechanics and tight controls, the difficulty curve stops this game from being as fun as it could be.

HyperParasite sports an incredible soundtrack and retro graphics that remain upbeat and energetic throughout each of the game's levels. The graphics have a very old-school feel to them, but there is never a moment that the game looks outdated. Everything about HyperParasite feels fresh and vibrant.

HyperParasite's gameplay is simple but satisfying. As a twin-stick shooter, players can move with the left stick and control their attacks with the right. The twist is that players will spend the game playing as parasitic alien that is capable of possessing enemies in order to use their attacks. This is integral to HyperParasite as the alien is weak and will die quickly without a host. The tutorial mission does a great job of explaining these mechanics and it is easy to jump right into the action.

Fighting enemies is fast paced and stressful in HyperParasite, and some segments feel more like a bullethell shooter. Players will be forced to dodge enemy attacks, fire projectiles, and switch bodies in quick succession just to survive. Navigating the randomly generated environments requires players keep a close eye on the enemies around them and their health bar simultaneously.

There is a progression system in between deaths for HyperParasite, but it can leave the player feeling like they aren't making much headway. Players start the game off only being able to possess a few enemies. By defeating stronger elite enemies, players will acquire the ability to possess that type of enemy in future runs. This makes HyperParasite a little easier on players, but it is the only form of progression in the game which can be an issue as the game gets more difficult.

Difficulty is brutal in HyperParasite. While the game gets easier as players unlock new characters, it still feels like HyperParasite punishes players too harshly upon death. Players who die lose all money and items in their possession along with any upgrades that were picked up during that run. This means that every run begins completely fresh and the player doesn't make much progress. Additionally, if the player dies they will be sent all the way back to the very beginning of HyperParasite, even if they are in the final chapter.

Another odd aspect of HyperParasite is the randomly generating map. In most cases this wouldn't be an issue but combined with the harsh difficulty level it can be frustrating. HyperParasite will randomly decide how many upgrades and items appear in a level every run. Sometimes the player will encounter four upgrades a level or maybe only one. Players who are navigating a level with zero upgrade may find it nearly impossible to compete during the boss fight.

HyperParasite has unique game mechanics, but its harsh and unfair difficulty can ruin the mood for a lot of players. There is nothing wrong with games being hard, but HyperParasite punishes players in ways that aren't fun or enjoyable. It is difficult to continue playing a game can constantly force players to start over from the very beginning every time that they die. HyperParasite will only be enjoyed by the most hardcore of gamers.

HyperParasite is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.