hyper mega tech super pocket review evercade

Hyper Mega Tech! Super Pocket Is an Evercade on a Budget

We’ve covered Blaze Entertainment’s efforts to build a licensed retrogame platform with physical cartridges in the Evercade, but for some players, even that cost of entry was a bit too steep. It’s possible, then, that the company’s latest device could be of interest. Released under the “Hyper Mega Tech!” branding instead of Evercade, the Super Pocket brings the price tag down below $60, and it packs its own built-in lineups of Capcom or Taito games to serve as a standalone release. But that Evercade cartridge slot? That makes it a lot more intriguing than most low-end games machines.

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We were expecting perhaps for the Super Pocket to take a few design cues from the original Evercade, itself a cheaper device than the EXP with similar components. Instead, it goes for the more durable and modern look of the EXP, a choice that makes a lot of sense and is better. Returning briefly to the original Evercade to compare for this piece showed us just how far manufacturer Blaze has come in the design of its devices, learning a lot about materials and ergonomics along the way.

The color schemes, chosen to go with the built-in game collections, are a lot of fun. The Capcom edition uses the signature royal blue and yellow. The Taito model runs with a teal and black scheme. And already, we’re seeing it’s not a rote template; Blaze used teal buttons on the black faceplate for Taito and kept the whole front blue for Capcom. If they keep iterating for potential future models, that could be pleasant to see.

hyper mega tech super pocket review evercade

What we also expected? Tech spec downgrades. And it doesn’t seem like they’re here in a significant enough way to notice! We tested the full gamut of Evercade cartridges on the device, including some that the other hardware doesn’t run the best. The Super Pocket didn’t flinch. Some of the original PlayStation titles in the library frankly don’t run well through their own technical failings, but our experience was indistinguishable between hardware. We’ll have to return to this when we’re able to try out the upcoming Nintendo 64 emulation, but for now? We’re impressed.

Each Super Pocket has a built-in library of arcade games. Capcom titles return after their appearance on the Evercade EXP, making clear that this sort of licensing is apparently a lot easier for Blaze than a cartridge. The standouts in this collection are Street Fighter II’: Hyper Fighting, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and the 1942 trilogy. Capcom dominated arcades in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, and for good reason: these games stand the test of time.

There’s also Final Fight, which we like a lot but more for its co-op play which isn’t possible on the Super Pocket. Strider and Bionic Commando are here, too, along with Wolf of the Battlefield: MERCS and Forgotten Worlds. Our favorite of the bunch is Captain Commando, a criminally overlooked beat-’em-up that lets you play as a baby in a mech.

The Taito model has all the usual suspects from the company’s arcade heyday. The front of the box shouts about Space Invaders and Bubble Bobble, which makes sense, as no other Taito properties have nearly as much global popularity. Puzzle Bobble (also known as Bust A Move) is here too. The Taito collection skews a bit older, with more ‘80s games joining 1978’s Space Invaders in the bunch. This means a different sort of sensibility than the Capcom set.

hyper mega tech super pocket review evercade

The remaining arcade inclusions have less consistent player awareness, but we know some people who love them. They are: Operation Wolf, Rastan, The NewZealand Story, Cadash, Chack’n Pop, Don Doko Don, Elevator Action, The Fairyland Story, Football Champ, Growl, Volfied, Kiki Kaikai, The Legend of Kage and Liquid Kids. As you can see, the Taito collection makes up for its less-known lineup with a larger selection of releases.

Both collections feature almost all arcade games, with one console cameo tacked on. Capcom adds NES Mega Man, while Taito includes Genesis release Space Invaders ‘91. We imagine Mega Man is the most affordable way Blaze could put the Mega Man logo on the box, which makes sense at retail, but Space Invaders ‘91 is a harder inclusion to explain.

So where are the cost reductions in the Super Pocket, then? The answer appears to be build quality. It’s durable, in a Nintendo 2DS sort of way, made so that kids can’t break it. But adults will notice a few things! The tinny speaker emits noises accurately, but not really with a robust sound you’d want to experience it if you have other choices. The shoulder buttons are… there, if you need them for cartridge compatibility, but they’re in the one awkward position available to put them and need a peculiar amount of leverage to press.

The main concern is likely the buttons. They’re functional, but a bit stiff and unresponsive at times. It’s the sort of setup that would be totally fine with games that are more about decisions than reflexes! Unfortunately, that remains the weakness of the Evercade game library, with its focus on arcade action. And the built-in Super Pocket games exclusively fall into this category. When testing a game we know well, Taito classic Puzzle Bobble, the cursor would blow past our target with a simple light touch.

hyper mega tech super pocket review evercade

The Super Pocket supports an “Easy Mode” option, which is a streamlined setting to turn all the arcade games’ dip switches down to their most forgiving settings. This is, we presume, to make the device more approachable to young children, so it can be something of an entry point to retro games. We can confirm that it does what it says, letting us feel for once in our lives like we’re good at Street Fighter II. Combined with a form factor that’s definitely made for smaller hands, it could make for an intriguing kid gift.

(It should be noted, though: both devices carry a PEGI 12 rating for the included games. Nothing here is really egregious, but there’s fighting and guns and explosions in some titles, so keep that in mind if you’re handing one to a toddler or something.)

We don’t mind the 4-by-3 screen of the Super Pocket. In many ways, this makes more sense for most games! It’s nice to see Blaze find a supplier for them! And while the separate Hyper Mega Tech! branding is a bit strange, the idea that they’re reserving the Evercade name for higher-quality builds at least shows they’re sensitive to that stuff.

The Hyper Mega Tech! Super Pocket is available now for $59, in Capcom and Taito models. It’s compatible with the Evercade cartridge library. For more Evercade coverage, including recommendations for which carts to pick up first, check out our archive.


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Author
Graham Russell
Graham Russell, editor-at-large, has been writing about games for various sites and publications since 2007. He’s a fan of streamlined strategy games, local multiplayer and upbeat aesthetics. He joined Siliconera in February 2020, and served as its Managing Editor until July 2022. When he’s not writing about games, he’s a graphic designer, web developer, card/board game designer and editor.