REVIEW: Hypotenuse

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.

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15 thoughts on “REVIEW: Hypotenuse”

    1. The thing is, I do recall seeing that as well, but the controller layout didn’t mention anything, let alone the button you’d use. I tried everything. If you figure it out, let me know. And yeah, that lock on is touchy. They’ve got to be a certain range, and even then it picks and chooses on its own.

    2. Yeah, you guys have to be right. I’ll have to go back to it tonight when I get home, then change the line in the review. I’m oblivious sometimes.

    3. Two things have been confirmed: 1) There is a block button (B), very clearly displayed on the guide. 2) I am an idiot.

      Thanks for pointing that out, fellas. Won’t change my opinion on the game, but I did have to eat my words on that one. 🙂

    1. Me too. I was incredibly impressed by the visuals, hadn’t heard a word about the game prior, and really expected something cool from it. Such a letdown. The developer went through all the trouble to build the engine and create a unique look, then just put a bare-bones arena fighter under the hood.

  1. I hope the developers will extend it – it strikes me as beautiful and fun, but eight minutes makes it perhaps best described as a beta. “wondering what could have been”. Well yes I do, I feel the ingredients are special and interesting. I will play the trial to experience it. If the game grows I’ll buy it, lets hope it does.

    1. Exactly. Had it been described as a ‘beta’ or a work-in-progress (even though I don’t like unfinished games being released), I would have probably recommended it. No mention of any updates or stuff they’d like to add to be found in-game though. 😦

  2. Here Here!! My sentiments exactly! Beautiful, artistic even game with any lack a depth. So shallow they don’t get my buck. I have a policy of trying the trials out a few times before I decide to buy and after 2 go rounds I got exactly what you said in your review. <===Better? :p

    1. Much better 🙂 Eloquence befitting this fine establishment, good sir. And you saved yourself a dollar and some heartbreak in the process. Win-win.

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