Part of the line-up of third-party titles to make its Project Morpheus debut at last month’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Los Angeles, Super Hypercube received its first public outing at the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) earlier this month. Next to more action-orientated titles such as The London Heist and Headmaster opinions of those new to virtual reality (VR) were certainly divided, but for experienced users the opportunity to put thought before interaction was a welcome new design template.
A seemingly simple videogame, Super Hypercube put the player in charge of orientating a collection of cubes to fit through a hole in an oncoming wall. This starts in a very accessible manner: one cube and one cube shaped hole. However with each successful passthrough more cubes get added to your starting block and the holes become more complex.
The cube collection can be reorientated in three ways: horizontally, vertically and yaw. This simple system gives you enough control to alter the angle (and thus the forward-facing shape) of your cube collection in a very binary fashion. Press once to turn, twice to turn further, a tap of the R1 button to roll. It allows for step-by-step progression to the point where you need to be at in order to fit through that hole, giving you only a split second to work out which orientation is required before attempting to make it happen.
That tight time demand comes becomes the walls are ever moving towards your cube collection. Once one wall has been passed through your cube collection grows and the next wall is immediately presented behind. The player must lean around their cube collection – which is always central on the forward-facing display – to discover the shape of the hole they must pass through. It may sound like an awkward design decision, but in practice it strikes a perfect balance for tension and skilled execution.
Should a player not make their collection match the hole it must pass through in time, their cube collection will lose a block or two and the score multiplier will drop. While a short playtest isn’t really enough time to get to grips with the score mechanic, Super Hypercube does appear to be a videogame which will be largely based upon the idea of high score competitions. Play sessions will be relatively short and passing the head-mounted display (HMD) between players with the idea of performing better than your peers is something which we’ve seen relatively little of in VR thus far. Super Hypercube could be that welcoming first step into bringing old school videogame flavour to this very new gameplay medium.