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Video GameHypnospace Outlaw Review
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Posted: 14 months ago, last updated 11 months ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.

OverviewOverview

Hypnospace Outlaw is a puzzle game where you explore a simulation of the internet in the 1990s. Your role is to enforce good behaviour by finding misconduct on the pixelated pages. It's not only a unique piece of historical fiction but because its web of characters and stories are rich with political questions and challenges to over-simplistic morality.

Play involves reading your mail to receive orders for things to find like copyright infringement, internet bullying or abusive behaviour. As you click through the different bulletin, GeoCities and MySpace-style pages you identify ways that users are breaking the law and report them for money.

You explore the pages by double-clicking icons in the retro interface. Some areas are harder to get to as they have been hidden by users. As you progress you scour deeper into the variety of weird and wonderful websites to hunt down wrongdoers, while also keeping an eye on your inbox, avoiding viruses and adware, and downloading a plethora of apps that may or may not be useful.

It's presented as parody, but as the story develops it moves into more substantial territory. You get to know the different people through their online pages as mini-dramas about their various obsessions unfold.

"We experience these people through their sad," said Colin Campbell, "desperate webpages, complete with typographical horrors, ghastly animations, and execrable grammar. They present as a carnival parade of monomaniacs, loners, idealists, and criminals. Their woeful websites are a genuinely funny joke, featuring wild conspiracy theories, bad social games, and crass attempts at online villainy. But they are also human beings with their own failings and charms. Their tales coalesce to form a deeply engaging narrative."

The result is a ferocious recreation not only of a particular era of technology, but the games users of these things continue to play in their lives today. It's a tough game to solve but the real joy is paying attention to the detail along the way and allowing that to sit alongside what the internet is today.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 12/04/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Narrative, Point-and-Click, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 31 features

Developer: Tendershoot (@Tendershoot_)

 

ListsLists

DurationDuration

Play Time: This game will take between 6 hours and 10 hours to complete. You can spend tens of hours exploring the pages. The game will also take longer if you use fewer hints.
 

Play StylePlay Style

This is a single-player game.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 12 for Mild Swearing. Mild swearing includes the use of the word “*!@?*/ed”.

In the US, ESRB state: A handful of pages contain pixilated horror-style graphics, such as a blender with blood, bloody hand pointers, and a knife with animated blood splatters. One page contains footage of a first-person shooter in which blood effects appear on the camera/screen. During the course of the game, players can screen pages for “pornographic imagery” (blurred/pixelated images), though sexual themes/material appear almost entirely in text format (e.g., “Chowder Man lusts after women in horrifying detail”; “...I don't hear them going wild all night in her room”; "...not too much sex stuff”; “Are u a virgin?”). Game text contains several references to drugs (e.g., “It's what your weird weed-dealing uncle does while not meditating...”; “...Teens claim this means...that they're able or willing to purchase illegal drugs”; "...They're meeting in the bathroom soon to do a drug deal”; “...dealers and buyers of narcotics"; "sniffing drugs"). One page depicts a toilet with brown liquid and vomit stains. The word “p*ssed” appears in the game.

Skill Rating

13+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. You need patience and the ability to use trial and error, lateral thinking and guesswork to solve the puzzles.

CostsCosts

Hypnospace Outlaw usually costs £13.99 to £15.49.
 

Hypnospace Outlaw

PlayStation Store PS4 £13.99
Steam Store PC £15.49
Switch Store Switch £15.49
Steam Store Mac £15.49
There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

AccessibilityAccessibility

Our Hypnospace Outlaw Accessibility Report documents 31 accessibility features:
Text in Hypnospace Outlaw:
Some people may have difficulty with the pixel fonts in the game. To help with this, players can right-click on any text (or press a button on the controller while the mouse cursor is over some text) to have the text read out loud via Text To Speech (TTS) voicing.

Subtitles:
The in-game virtual assistant Hypii which voices the TTS and gives the player notifications can be configured in the Settings menu to caption everything they say. TTS speaking speed can also be adjusted. Please note that TTS does not work on Linux computers.

Also, there are some videos in the game with subtitled dialogue.

Controls:
On a computer, the game can be controlled with a mouse alone, except for some optional mini-games, and one part near the end of the game where players will need to use the arrow keys on the keyboard. On console, the entire game can be controlled using the left stick and A button, with some optional shortcuts mapped to other buttons. Players can also use a USB mouse and keyboard (wired or wireless) plugged in to the console on Switch, PS4, and Xbox. On Switch, the entire game except for one part near the end can be controlled using the touchscreen.

When using a controller, the right-stick can be used to "jump" to the nearest interactable element on the screen, reducing the need for precise movements.

The game has a built-in on-screen keyboard on console, and it can be enabled on PC in the Settings menu.

Motion Pointing:
This control option is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, and can be activated by playing the game with a single Joy-Con and toggled by pressing in on the joystick.

Guaranteed Progress:
There is no way to "lose" the game, or enter a state where you must re-do something to progress. There are optional mini-games you can play, but there is no penalty to failing and none are required to progress.

Visual Distractions:
There are a few moments of flashing/strobing effects in the game that were developed with minimal intensity, duration, and low contrast between flashing colors, to help reduce the risk of seizure.

Reaction Time:
During one part near the end of the game the player will be playing an action sequence and will need to react more quickly than the rest of the game, but the difficulty of performing these actions have been reduced to be as easy as possible and there is no way to fail the sequence.

Hints:
Hints can be accessed at any time by searching the word "Hint" in the in-game browser (Hypnospace Explorer), and paying a small fee in in-game currency. I recommend "stamping" (bookmarking) the hint page once you have paid the fee so that you do not need to pay it again in the future. The hints are tiered, such that you can get either a basic hint or a complete guide to any puzzle in the game.

Diversity and InclusionDiversity and Inclusion

We haven't documented diversity and inclusion information for this game yet.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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