by Kevin, reviewed on
Not a shooter
ThreadSpace: Hyperbol is an online futuristic strategy game from Iocaine Studios, a game development team that proudly proclaims on their official site that they are just a group of four friends who work out of a dining room. The game itself is a melting pot of different strategy elements. This is the group's first completed project and it is quite refreshing to see what can be done by developers who are just getting started in the business of game design.
While graphics aren't the most important aspect of a game, it is one of the first things people will notice. You won't find photo-realistic graphics in ThreadSpace. This isn't to say the game's graphics are bad, however. In fact, it is quite the opposite. This game looks good and the creators gave you a nice bunch of options to tweak it to your liking, such as turning on/off pixel shaders and being able to tweak the particle effects. The special effects for things such as lasers and explosions are done nicely, which makes for quite a display during the more heated battles. Also, the ships are very fancy looking and their designs match their purpose. The maps are kind of plain compared to the ships and special effects, but they still have that abstract futuristic feel to them, which I have enjoyed a lot playing the game. In a way, the maps remind me of structures in Phantasy Star Online and Phantasy Star Universe. With all the special graphics options on and turned up texture details, ThreadSpace is a wonderful looking game. If you own a mid-range or better gaming rig, performance won't take a hit even with the added eye candy.
ThreadSpace certainly isn't lacking in the sound department either. Like most other games, it gives you the options of changing the music, sound effects, and voice volume levels. But unlike other games, ThreadSpace gives you an option of high-quality 3D sound, which brings the immersion factor up a notch. The 3D sound is not there just for show. I found that it also helped me progress through the game. Switched on, I was having an easier time telling where my enemies were shooting me from and what kind of path their projectile was taking. Even without seeing it coming, I knew in which direction to maneuver to get out of the way. The rest of the sound is basic but functional with the usual laser, gunfire and explosion sound effects amidst a beat-filled techno soundtrack. Voice acting is okay but won’t blow your socks off.
Playing the Game
The game looks and sounds good, but how does it play? The first thing you will notice when starting up the tutorial, is that –despite its name- this isn't a run-and-gun game at all, but a strategy game. It moves a lot faster than most other strategy games while still letting you plan ahead, even during a fierce battle. The player is in control of a ship… hmm… no that name doesn’t do it justice. It is actually closer to being an extremely versatile hover-tank in which you fight alongside your team against enemy ships. The game features an ‘objective mode’ where you have to help your team complete objectives before the other team does. The game has a somewhat steep learning curve, but once you get the hang of things, you will find that the game is actually pretty addictive.
The game handles like a charm. Every action in the game can be performed with a simple mouse click or keyboard shortcut and there are usually a few ways to go about doing what you have set out to achieve. Everything you need is right there in front of you in the GUI, conveniently and intuitively placed. Your massive selection of weapons goes along the left side and bottom of the screen, organized by type. The camera control is simple: clicking the right mouse button will change the angle instantly, or you can hold the button down to move the camera around. The WASD keys pan the camera, and zooming in and out is as simple as using the mouse wheel.
You won't be flying your ship all over the map. Instead, you click the Move Ship button and click on where you want the ship to go. After the ship gets done moving, you need to wait for the ship's fuel to refill. The time that the refueling process takes changes depending on what kind of ship you play, but it usually only takes a few seconds anyway.
No Pros and Cons at this time