Hyper Light Drifter Review
Hyper Light Drifter is a beautiful, curious game that serves as a parallel to its lead developer’s life. Released in 2016 by Heart Machine, Hyper Light Drifter follows the adventure of an unnamed wanderer wielding ancient technology. There is no spoken dialogue and much of the game's story is up for interpretation. Alex Preston, the game’s lead producer, says the game is a means “[...]to tell a story [he] can identify with, expressing something personal to a large audience…” Preston suffers from a heart disease that can end his life at any moment, and he channels this feeling of looming death into the game: providing a beautiful world with dark undertones and rigid difficulty for players to explore.
Don’t let the beautiful, often colourful world fool you; Hyper Light Drifter is a game with difficulty that can often be compared to the Dark Souls series. With an easy first level, the game quickly piles on the pain, with multiple tries required to defeat the bosses, and little time to practice the unique mechanics of dashing and shooting. You can dash as many times as you would like, but your gun’s bullets will run out, and can only be replenished by hitting enemies and breaking items around the map. The guns you acquire through your travels are almost a necessity in fighting bosses, but your sword is just as important. The sword is the first weapon you will utilise in this game, and is very useful in dispatching most ordinary enemies you will encounter. You can attain a variety of upgrades to your weapons, and can even find bombs later on. All enemies can be slain with the sword, but players will have to utilise all the mechanics at their disposal to effectively dispatch larger groups and bosses. I really enjoyed how this game gives you ammo; you don’t need to scramble to a supply cache hidden somewhere, you just need enough skill to hit a few enemies close-up without dying. The health system is similar to the Souls games as well, utilising potions hidden around each level that can be used at any time to replenish some health.
The graphics and sound design of this game really stand out to me. The team over at Heart Machine stresses how much painstaking detail they have added to the game, and it can really be seen as you play through level after level of breath-taking scenery and ominous yet beautiful music. The forests and ponds of the world are wonderful to take a look at, and the game even has certain vantage points to look out from and admire the scenery. The music of this game is whimsical, it has a very strange, ominous, beautiful ring to it.
Hyper Light Drifter is unique, it highlights the issues of a real person in an abstract way. This game plays very smoothly, and offers stunning visuals and rigid difficulty. It's always great to see a studio that is willing to put in the work for its games in times of pre-alpha releases that are often released in a broken state. Hyper Light Drifter is a lot of fun, and it's beautiful too. It’s a memorable experience, and can keep you interested the whole way through. Certainly worth its entry price at $19.99/£15.49 on Steam.
Hyper Light Drifter (Reviewed on Windows)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
Hyper Light Drifter is unique, it highlights the issues of a real person in an abstract way. This game plays very smoothly, and offers stunning visuals and rigid difficulty. Hyper Light Drifter is a lot of fun, and it's beautiful too. It’s a memorable experience, and can keep you interested the whole way through.