. To mark the occasion we're republishing our original review, which first went live in May. I cannot recommend this game enough. Overall both music and sound only enriched the game experience. That adds flavor to the combat systems without overcomplicating things. It adds just the right amount of ambiance to every location in the game and fits perfectly with the aesthetic.
That's what this arena was like. Overall the game is very fun. Sunlight angled in through shattered rafters. Wolves run for you and can be smacked away with the right timing; at least one of the birds is only targetable when it is ducking in for the kill. Of all the areas, I found the eastern area to be particularly confusing when going back to search for secrets. But you also find yourself repeating areas, which is when frustration sets in.
It has similar visual story telling to the Souls games, which is a great thing. Heart Machine knows how to make a great metroidvania. In its first impression, it radiates light and warmth and tone through incandescent rays of kaleidoscopic neon graphics, staticy sounds, and upbeat digital tunes that set the stage for a colorful sci-fi world. The journey up the mountain had been hard, past frosted willows and over ancient tumbledown staircases. Why and how it happened, you vaguely piece together as you make your way, but no one ever distinctly says anything. Why not just use words? Though its wordless storytelling took some of the thrill out of completing the campaign, Hyper Light Drifter is a joy to play, and replay in the new game plus mode its mechanical excellence and stylish veneer. And at first it is overwhelming.
One of Hyper Light Drifter's few acts of kindness is that it saves at the entrance to every room, and so you can experiment in each encounter a little, working out who to take down first, when to waste time on movement, and when to cash in a shotgun blast you've saved up. The only thing Hyper Light Drifter is swift to make entirely clear, in fact, is that this is not the game that the dreamy, delicate art initially suggests. And well done Heart Machine to making retrying so painless; if you die in an area you start the area again with exactly what you entered it with. Traditional puzzles often involve perspective tricks. Visual and narrative mysteries translate to structural ones, too.
In each of the game's regions, the color palette grows more complex. Hyper Light Drifter's primary drawback is, ironically, found in the same visuals that make it such a vibrant success. I know of players performing chains of an awe-inspiring 1,000 drifts in the village's practice arena. If you're struggling, buy the attack-dash as soon as you can. Combat is fun and rewarding, and allows for growth; I continued to improve over the 11 hours I've played it. However, it becomes a grind to push passed arenas filled with enemies which attack in random order. It is not a gentle Zelda dressed up in Topshop cyans and hot pinks, a place where dungeons succumb to quiet intellect as much as the sharp point of a sword.
And once I have uncovered them, I hope Hyper Light Drifter's community has multitudes more to share. The enemies are well varied, with some being particularly aggressive. They easily could've gone the Metroid Prime route and added a library which added the lore from those monoliths into an easy to access menu. There are moments when you feel the designers really getting to grips with the restrictions that make Hyper Light Drifter work - moments where you slide between shifting patches of cover, ducking fire from slow-targeting turrets and picking off baddies in the optimal order. Heart Machine knows how to make a great metroidvania.
With these tools, you face magic-wielding vultures, crystalline spiders, and vicious gunners, and taking down a mass of them within a confined space can be a Herculean labor. You wake up from some slumber to find a post-apocalyptic land flooded with gorgeous, neon-painted landscapes and scenery, made possible by some freaking fantastic pixel artistry. This makes the bosses with their obvious adds a nightmare. You do all this in the space of a second or two, calculating the right trajectories and timings on the fly, and hoping you get the math right--or at least, close enough to stay alive. I don't know this place's entire history, but its desolate elegance inspires me to fill in the gaps myself. Even outside of battle, you might wander behind some trees or buildings looking for secret areas and hidden objects, only to fall off a ledge that's hidden from view.
Despite its pixelated trappings, it grapples with mature themes: extinction, genocide, cultism, religious symbolism, and time travel. This game has stand-in noises and a few pictures to communicate everything anything has to say to you. It is a game about fighting, and an adventure that does not trade in joy so much as relief. You start the game with a sword and pistol, as well as the ability to dash. Parents need to know that Hyper Light Drifter is a downloadable adventure game that's solid homage to older videogames like The Legend of Zelda. You are not Hercules but Hermes, quick and cunning, moving in when opportunity strikes, and dashing away.
A few of its influences are clear from the get-go, such as the top down Zelda games, and having played through it, even recent games such as Bloodborne came to mind. Consider the boss battles, which require a measure of skill, particularly if you only have one or two health packs on hand. Really, though, Hyper Light Drifter is all about the combat. It was a long time coming, waiting for this game , but the years of anticipation have been beyond worth it! This game is intriguing, and so terribly satisfying. This does add some element of world building and lore, but it would've been much more effective if the dialogue was just normal dialogue text. Hyper Light Drifter is an intricate beast geographically, but it's best not to think of the game as being built around four dungeons.
In the main hub area you can find a selection of shops to do so, and deciding what to spend your currency on can be difficult in itself. Meanwhile, the Disasterpeace soundtrack is a typical delight, shapeshifting coherently between Vangelis and Badalamenti, and equally happy to devolve, at times, to a menacing server-room rumble. I found the game as compelling as it was addictive. Not too much of a problem, though. Due to the crazy action you'll need to endure and gymnastics you'll need to pull off, you absolutely need to play this game with a controller.