The Strange Appeal of Hyper Light Drifter

Image Source: Heart Machine

Hyper Light Drifter is a vibrant new indie game that has already far surpassed its original funding goal on Kickstarter. Resplendent with neon and nostalgia, it has charmed its way to nearly $300,000.

Image Source: Heart Machine

Hyper Light Drifter is described as a 2D Action RPG reminiscent of those well-loved pixelated classics. Admittedly, the game doesn’t sound too groundbreaking by that description. Yet, there’s something remarkably different about Hyper Light Drifter. The developer, Heart Machine (or Alex Preston), goes on to describe the game as “the best parts of A Link to the Past and Diablo, evolved…”, but even this does not seem to capture what is so oddly appealing about the game. Maybe it’s the bright colors and subdued electronic music? Or even the seemingly enormous levels? Perhaps Hyper Light Drifter is simply what it purports to be: a lovingly-made pastiche of old and new. It could be that the 2D Action RPG has been imitated but never successfully innovated, and Heart Machine is showing us what a true innovation would look like. It also very well could be that I was awestruck by a shiny trailer (that’s very probable, by the way).

Hyper Light Drifter feels darker, moodier than it should. It’s almost like an SNES fantasy adventure meets Blade Runner. And somehow it works. But, enough about the game’s style. Does it have any substance? We can’t exactly know until the game is released in some fashion. What we do know is what the developer tells us on Kickstarter.

Here are a few excepts from Hyper Light Drifter’s Kickstarter page:

A challenge – The game is accessible and easy to pick up, but difficult to master and complete; enemies and hazards become more vicious and numerous, so players must use clever tactics to avoid death.

(On game mechanics:)

  • Primary weapon – Composed of phase shifted Hard Light (also known as Solid Light), your sword acts as the primary means of offense; it’s quick, brutal, and can slash through most anything. Best of all it never runs low on energy.
  • Sprite Companion – An indispensable personalized drone, the Sprite manages your inventory virtually, maintains your shields, seeks out hidden paths and lights the way in the darkest of times. Functionality may be expanded with new modules.
  • Secondary items – You’ll come across a variety of advanced weaponry, items and gear throughout your travels; Light Rail Pistols, Heavy Rifles, various hi-power explosives and enemy-aware Seeker Drones. All of these are powered by limited batteries, found scattered throughout the world.
  • Defense System – A rechargeable Hard Light Diamond shield which offers total protection from attacks for a short burst of time. If timed correctly projectiles can be reflected back at enemies for extra damage. Can be upgraded to extend duration.
  • Dash Module – Multi-use gear that enables a triple speed dash; can be used to evade attacks, cut across gaps and chasms, break through certain blocks and rubble and even stun enemies.

There’s not much to go on other than the trailer and the written description. Still, Hyper Light Drifter looks like something refreshing and, quite possibly, beautiful. It’s, at the very least, worth keeping your eye on.

– Game Blog Girl

What do you think about Hyper Light Drifter? Tell me in the comments or tweet @gamebloggirl!


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