The game is set in the year 2089, where Earth has become unable to support life due to humankind’s ignorance. The Earth Council has turned their attention to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter – a place virtually untouched by civilization. But a hostile race of cybernetic beings has taken up residence there, and if humankind is to survive, the infestation must be eradicated. HyperZone is a rail shooter game.
The object of the game is to navigate each level while shooting enemies and earning points until encountering a boss enemy, at the end of each level. After enough points are acquired, the player earns an extend and their ship is upgraded at the beginning of the next stage. The player’s ship can receive up to six upgrades. As a racing game, the resemblance is visual. The mode 7 tracks are similar to the well-known progenitor of mode 7 racing, F-Zero.
As a scrolling shooter, it is also similar to Star Fox in that the player’s ship is constantly pushed forward through each level. While it is possible to slow down, doing so gradually causes damage to the player’s ship. HyperZone contains eight levels. After the initial game is finished, it restarts from the beginning with the player continuing in their final ship and keeping score; the game loops infinitely.