Real Talk By: Haggy
Hyper Light Drifter has been the game I’ve been up too this week. It came out some time ago, and I gave it a pass because I had no idea what it was. I sincerely regret that as my time with the game has been an excellent example of game design. The Game is so well made that there’s so many aspects to learn from it, and the game is extremely enjoyable. From a good combat system to a great artstyle, Hyper Light Drifter(HLD) is a fantastic experience that you should definitely check out.
So, in short, it’s as if Legend of Zelda merged with the trip hop and ultra chill bumps and songs from Adult Swim and it all became a dreamy nightmarescape, but it was cool. It’s a great game, but as for the why, well, let’s elaborate.
One of the first things you’ll come across in HLD is the amazing soundtrack. It is absolutely spectacular as it keeps the tone of every moment in mind. This game’s soundtrack is a must buy in my opinion if you ever just want to veg out or chill, but even more so it helps highlight the plight of our hero and the world he’s in.
The next thing is the art style. Despite the game being 16-bit, I don’t think I’ve ever taken as many screen shots. It is absolutely wonderful to behold, with great color schemes, great animations, and each action you do is so well mapped to your character that each time you press a button, it is satisfying. The world is very well made, and at the same time beautiful and brutal. Tragically, the biggest problem with HLD also comes from it’s artworks as sometimes depth and scale are lost. For example, thinking you can go up a ledge when you really can’t occasionally gets you lost.
Going onto the Story, I won’t give many details as that would be a slight spoiler. HLD is essentially a trip. You have to experience it for yourself, and it only gets better if you go in blind like I did. Just know that the plot is definitely endearing and is definitely a hook…. And not a single word of dialogue is given. All story is done either through pictures of what people are describing, or the world itself.
Last but not least is the game play itself. As stated with the rapid animations, each action you take is almost instantaneous. It’s similarities to Legend of Zelda also show themselves here as the game world is made rather similarly, the camera is similar, and the combat itself is similar with all enemies giving a tell to telegraph their attacks before they strike. You may only have so few moves (Dash, Slash, Shoot, Bomb), but it quickly becomes a matter of skill, more so than a matter of repetition.
In closing, games like this one are what made me want to be a game developer. Every aspect that’s introduced to the game is done so that you never feel cheated when it happens to you in the future, the world plays by the rules it puts on the player, the game feel is so mesmerizing that I legitimately struggled to get away from the game to type and voice this all out. It is, a master class. This joins the greats to come out of the Game Maker engine like Hotline Miami, and Gunpoint.
Hyper Light Drifter gets
4.5 out of 5
+Stunning Art Direction
+Great Game Play
+Excellent Value at $20
-Occasionally the Artstyle is Detrimental
-It is Sometimes Difficult to Know Where to Go
(Notice! This game has been nominated hardcore for some Steam Awards, and so is on quite the sale! Don’t miss out!)