The spiritual successor to Hypnospace Outlaw takes you back to the '00s internet

Hypnospace Outlaw is one of the coolest and oddest games of recent years, as well as being one of the best detect-'em-ups there is. Our review at the time praised its world, constructed around the early internet experience, as "a joyous explosion of art, music, creativity, and weirdness, and a pleasure to explore. And it's a nice reminder of when the internet felt like a cool underground club, rather than a pervasive Hell from which there is no escape."

During what was basically a Hypnospace Direct today, a spiritual sequel to the game was announced, called Dreamsettler, alongside a rather wild-looking spinoff called, ahem, Slayers X: Terminal Aftermath: Vengance of the Slayer. Vengance is not a typo.

Dreamsettler first, and there's one word for that trailer: funky. Anyone who's played the original will slip into this like a comfy pair of old boots (bought on eBay when it was still good), and while the trailer doesn't go into the nuts-and-bolts of it, you'll be playing an internet detective, helping out users of something called the Somnius Sleepnet System with their problems.

Dreamsettler in action.

(Image credit: No More Robots)

Per the press release: "You'll be exploring webpages, experiencing the beginning of social media, listening to hours of music from alternate-reality genres, watching all sorts of mad videos, and generally exploring a version of the '00s internet that feels familiar yet different... and that'll be before it starts to get really dark."

The game involves browsing the net, keeping up with user emails, downloading apps, and solving cases before being drawn into a big 'ol conspiracy.

Now, time for something completely different. Here's the trailer for Slayers X: Terminal Aftermath: Vengance of the Slayer:

Oookay. We're not exactly short of retro-style FPS shooters, and the humour here is of the love it or hate it variety, but I think this is kinda charming. It's also, true to the Hypnospace lineage, pretty meta: Slayers X is described as a boomer shooter created by Zane Lofton, a character known in Hypnospace Outlaw as ZANE_ROCKS_14. Yes, he was 14 years old.

I kind of respect how upfront the whole pitch is: everything to do with the game is being laid-out as if Zane is the developer of the game (here he is on twitter) and is now a 37 year-old manager of a DollarSaver store.

"He's found an old game he made when he was 14 called Slayers X, and has spruced it up for release in 2022. The game is a fully-fledged DOOM-like, where The Psyko Sindikate have killed Zane's best friend, so he's out for revenge."

It looks like good old-fashioned fun at the very least, and I'm such a fan of how the Hypnospace games manage to take what is essentially the ugliness of much early 3D art and build such a striking aesthetic around it. Both games are coming this year, with Slayers X due "extremely soon!"

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."