Hypercharge: Unboxed review – Nostalgia in mint condition

Nathan Warby
Hypercharge: Unboxed toy with flag

Hypercharge: Unboxed is a simple but effective shooter that’s absolutely steeped in nostalgia. While it occasionally lacks the depth to keep you hooked for hours on end, seeing the world from an action figure’s perspective and blasting it to bits is a magical time.

If you’ve been on social media in the last few years, you’ve likely stumbled across clips of Hypercharge: Unboxed. The toy-sized shooter has gone viral many times in the years since its initial troubled launch in 2017, catching the eyes of players who grew up watching Toy Soldiers or Toy Story.

Now, after finally breaking open the new Xbox version, I’m happy to report that Hyperchage lives up to its promise by delivering a fast, fun, and nostalgic experience that made this 90s kid feel like he was back on the floor of his childhood home bashing his favorite action figures together.

Fun to the core

The first main pillar of Hypercharge: Unboxed is its wave-based PvE mode, which tasks you with fending hordes of colorful enemies with the many weapons scattered around the map. Each level has a simple objective – defeat every foe before they destroy your three Hypercores.

However, what starts out as a simple point-and-shoot exercise quickly escalates into a frantic scramble, as everything from Beyblade-inspired spinning tops to soaring toy planes start to rein down on you and your squad.

Enemies in Hypercharge: Unboxed

After many years as a PC-exclusive, the transition over to console has been a seamless one. The game runs smoothly on Xbox Series X/S even when the action gets hectic, and the controls feel intuitive after making the jump to a controller from a keyboard.

While the three AI teammates are more than competent allies, PvE really comes to life when you get friends involved. Desperately trying to hold down the fort while a squadmate goes off in search of better guns, batteries, or currency is a surprisingly challenging balance, but one that was always a good time.

There are also defenses that can be built around each Hypercore to try and slow down the onslaught, from basic castle walls to turrets that can the attackers into little chunks of plastic in the blink of an eye. I was a little disappointed that these can only be placed at predetermined locations around each battlefield though, as it really limits your options and removes any tactical thinking about how to set up your base.

That being said, the real stars of the show here are the maps themselves, which are vibrant and realistic even on my less powerful Series S. From a childhood bedroom to a toy store, each one is intricately detailed and feels huge from your tiny perspective, a sensation that never got old throughout the short but amusing campaign.

These maps only become more impressive when you begin exploring every nook and cranny to try and tick off each level’s many optional objectives. You’ll soon find hidden targets that need to be shot or jumps that need to be cleared, as well as plenty of hilarious Easter eggs.

In fact, it’s well worth unlocking and hopping into the Free Roam mode just to poke around and take it all in without the pressure of a plastic T-rex trying to rip you apart.

Like toy soldiers

Hypercharge: Unboxed player on kitchen map

Once you’re done taking on AI toys in Hypercharge: Unboxed, you get your competitive fix with online multiplayer. Here, your customizable action figure goes head-to-head with other players in all the traditional modes you’ve come to expect, from Team Deathmatch to King of the Hill.

The highlight, though, is Capture the Battery, which incorporates an extra layer of strategy by letting you throw the precious batteries to teammates or into the objective to score points. There’s nothing too groundbreaking to be found here, but the small POV and stunning maps elevate the simple moment-to-moment gameplay into something more memorable.

The shooting itself is solid and satisfying, and there’s a varied assortment of weapons to help you melt away the opposition. As you’d expect, the usual array of Machine Guns and Shotguns can be found around each arena, but there are also wackier picks like the Laser and Ice Blaster that make you feel like you’re starring in your own Saturday morning cartoon.

However, while the multiplayer offering in Hypercharge: Unboxed is enjoyable with friends, the lack of meaningful progression offers little reason to keep playing once the novelty wears off. Most of the cosmetics for your figure are earned through PvE, and there are no multiplayer levels or unlocks to grind for.

This might be for the best though, as I also found it difficult to find a multiplayer match when I didn’t have a couple of friends to start a server with, even with crossplay enabled. Hopefully, this will become less of an issue now with the influx of Xbox players, but there were a handful of occasions where I wanted to take the action online and simply couldn’t.


Hypercharge: Unboxed doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to its wave-based PvE or multiplayer modes, but its beautifully realized maps and pint-sized perspective sell the feeling of being an action figure in a way that’s hard to resist.

While its simple gameplay and fairly shallow multiplayer might mean it doesn’t come off the shelf for too long at a time, the game absolutely delivers what it sets out to do – it makes you feel like a kid again.