Hybrid splits players into red and blue factions who then battle it out for reasons neither clear nor important enough to go into.
Its gameplay hook is that, rather than do the straight-up third-person shooter thing – small walls, shoot from cover – 5th Cell has attempted to inject some dynamism by gluing cover points to walls and ceilings, and provided players the means to rocket-pack between them using a single button.
It demands some rather unusual controls. Controls that took a bit of getting used to. Meanwhile Hybrid has a tendency to shaft you with enemy players who – and bear in mind this is on day one of the game’s release – are already level 29 and have unlocked all manner of dickish shooters to torture you with.
Slowly, but surely, you’ll learn how to win even with so many experienced players in the room. We just hung back at the spawn and steered well clear of the crossfire, which, though killing some of the excitement, was preferable to our heads rupturing 20 times in a row without a kill.
On paper, with a huge amount of weapons to unlock and some fun killstreak awards, Hybrid’s certainly got the nads to provide a lasting challenge. But that’s not going to be Hybrid’s problem.
Hybrid’s problem is that with so many other deeper, longer-lasting experiences out there (and though some people might take a chance to spend 1200 MSP for a quick COD-holiday), few players are likely to stick around for more than a week or so, giving Hybrid a very definite shelf life.
Ultimately, problems for an XBLA multiplayer shooter begin as soon as boredom creeps into the general population – something which doesn’t look to be happening quite yet, but is only a matter of time.
During these, its sprouting days and weeks, its population is at zenith and yet soon it will be relinquished to the ownership of the type of enduring and slightly weird fan who still makes regular posts on the Naughty Bear Facebook page.
Like tuna salad in the sun, Hybrid is good to go as we write, but it’s a case of eat it now or eat it never.