With a sparse, minimalist yet beautiful look that is reminiscent of thatgamecompany’s Journey, the problem with Hypotenuse (80 MSP) certainly isn’t in its presentation. From the pertinent stats always on display above your head, to the options and menu interface in the pause screen, everything sports the same simple and stunning style.
Oh, if only that beauty was more than skin deep. The entirety of Hypotenuse‘s action takes place in a loosely-defined ‘arena’ consisting of a torii gate and a few blades of grass. You are a rectangle, and you are a ninja. Don’t ask for clarification because you will not get it. You have revival scrolls (they function as hit points) and throwing stars, and your pal on the perch keeps a tally of those and your kills. You then slash and shuriken your way through other rectangle ninjas that spawn in waves and— you guessed it… get progressively tougher the longer you survive.
There’s a lock-on function for convenience or ranged attacks, and the enemies occasionally block or lunge at you with a air strike (you’d be wise to dodge when you see this coming), but little more in the ways of combat or depth. It’s all very basic and repetitive. You get hit, go invisible / invulnerable for a few seconds, then repeat, until you get hit again.
Yes, that is all there is. You never see or do anything else of note, and there are no leaderboards or any enticement to improve on previous scores. With its art style, I would have loved some exploration, some different scenery, a stage break or two, something. Hypotenuse disappoints, shuffling the same powerups and rectangles onto the screen until you eventually succumb to its math, meaning a bunch of shape dudes take you down. Hardly-thrilling, as one survival run bleeds into the next.
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead Rectangles.
At its root the game isn’t bad, it’s just not worth your dollar. It’s an example of borderline-predatory design, tricking you into a purchase with the promise of additional game that is just not there. Pretty as it is, you can see all there is to Hypotenuse in the eight-minute trial (minus extra shurikens and a death animation or two). Enjoy that time and move on, knowing it wasn’t meant to be and wondering what could have been.