Nostalgia has played a large role in gaming recently. Over the last few years, a deluge of classic games has been remade for modern hardware. Hypnospace Outlaw also comes with a heavy dose of nostalgia, but the game delivers it in an imaginative way as players get a hilarious look back at the early days of the internet. This humor ends up being the most vital aspect of Hypnospace Outlaw, giving you all the motivation you need to explore the crazy world in which you find yourself.
Plenty of games try to be funny. Heck, a few even manage to consistently make you laugh. What is genuinely rare, though, is for humor to play such a fundamental role in the overall experience. While the likes of Borderlands try to insert humor into any aspect of the game when possible, the jokes are not a motivating factor for the player. Although they are an important part of the experience, they are not a central driving force. Instead, the humor is used as light relief rather than something for the player to search for.
That is not the case with Hypnospace Outlaw. In this title, the humor resembles more what you might find in point-and-click adventure games such as The Secret of Monkey Island. Here, though, the player has to find the laughs on their own. Throughout your time with Hypnospace Outlaw, you will almost certainly come across plenty of comical and entertaining material.
An an enforcer working for the company that invented Hypnospace, you have to travel around this sleep-based version of the web. When going to bed, people strap a headband over their eyes and can then traverse a special version of the internet in place of dreaming. It is your job to track down and delete any offending content that you find along the way. Pirated files or harassment of forum users are examples of the kind of offending content players might encounter. Whatever the case, using investigative skills to track down material that needs removing from the Hypnospace is the goal. The game is a compelling take on the Papers, Please formula and is a thoroughly absorbing experience.
Thanks to the constant supply of amusing content, you simply get lost in the strange world. The ability to explore this alternate version of the web at your own pace is the real beauty of Hypnospace Outlaw, and it is something that would not be possible in most other games. Without the constant pressure of enemies bearing down on you or the need to solve the next puzzle to proceed, the player can truly savor the title’s innate humor.
The importance of the humor is not just to populate the world with interesting content. Another vital purpose is to drive the player to explore further. Delving deeper into bizarre sites to discover more about each wacky character or hilarious tale is a great motivator. Hypnospace Outlaw effortlessly makes the player do the work assigned to them as each new click could lead to another snort of laughter. In the same way that people continue to trawl through Reddit or click on suggested videos on YouTube, the in-game world thrives on that that “just one more” feeling.
What makes the humor even better is that the Hypnospace Outlaw takes a satirical look at not only the internet of yesteryear but also today’s online world. Hypnospace is a world that almost everyone will be familiar with. Whether in the eccentric fan pages of the ‘90s or the practices of some of the corporations that rule the modern web, Hypnospace Outlaw finds the funny side of almost every aspect. Like all good satire, the game also exposes some of the dangers and issues in society. The shortcomings of living more of our lives online are laid bare through the exaggerated and ridiculous Hypnospace.
Hypnospace Outlaw shows that games can be thought-provoking and funny at the same time. Satire has not exactly been fertile ground in gaming outside of over-the-top experiences like Duke Nukem. However, this game shows that effective satire is possible if developers go about it in the right way. Using humor as a reason to explore, something that players can stumble across, or discover in their own time genuinely works. Each laugh acts like a little reward on a treasure hunt that keeps you coming back for more.