Recently, Harvard University did a study on hipsters, and found that when it comes to music, they don’t like bands if too many other people like them, and will therefore continuously search for lesser-known bands to (ironically?) enjoy. This only scratches the surface of hipsters, but it does provide some explanation to the unorganized subculture. That explanation may be helpful if you pick up Nuclear Hipster, a game with an amusing plot that far outstrips its gameplay.
The backstory of Nuclear Hipster is that an anarchist alien came to Earth and heard indie music for the first time. Apparently displeased, this alien nuked the Earth and then sent bearsharks to hunt down survivors. Hipster Dave’s band was captured, so he sold his records to build a robot dinosaur and save his band, and the Earth. This is all told to you in an animated music video intro that sets high hopes for the game.
Anarchy meets its match: Hipsterism.
In the span of about 600 seconds, you have to navigate a landscape full of falling boulders, radioactive waste, laser gates, and flailing bearsharks to find 15 randomly-placed bombs. The puzzle-platformer style falls short, however, when it comes to the obstacles you must pass. Both timed and moving obstacles often hurt you even after you’ve clearly passed them. We might be able to forgive this if there were some items to replenish wrongfully lost health, but those don’t exist in this wasteland, meaning that you usually die before time even runs out.
Your steed in this adventure is a robot dinosaur, but it turns out to be disappointingly useless (maybe Hipster Dave’s records weren’t very good). It can’t even fight the bearsharks. The only thing you can control is its movement, which is done using a visually clever virtual D-pad (a vinyl record with a nuclear symbol in the middle).
Bearshark can’t touch Hipster Dave’s clashing style.
Nuclear Hipster consists of just one level, with no difficulty settings, alternate modes, high scores, or any other features. It’s not really a full game, but we have the feeling it’s not really supposed to be.
Nuclear Hipster sets high hopes with its clever music video and quirky backstory, and it earns points for this originality and humor. We have the feeling that those are the reason the game exists, because the gameplay itself is wholly disappointing.
If you really love bearsharks and robot dinosaurs, even if it means struggling through a poorly polished game, then give Nuclear Hipster a try. Otherwise, for all the non-hipsters, use caution with this one. We’ve probably just done the game a favor by not giving it a top score– now hipsters have a reason to play it.