Hyper Light Drifter - Review

Author: Felice Di Giuseppe
Date: 2020-07-30 22:08:06
From the lands of Kickstarter comes Hyper Light Drifter, an action RPG heir of the 16-bit era, with injections of new game mechanics and a wide-ranging design and, obviously, in step with the times. It is the first work of Heart Machine, a software house led by Alex Preston, which is nothing but the mind that conceived, designed and designed the game. The story of Hyper Light Drifter is the same as the most promising projects landed on the crowdfounding platform, which is capable of throwing on the market many opportunities that in the end turn out to be wasted, but also of giving players as many games to love, taste and churn up to the marrow.

The project was born in 2013 and has undoubtedly broken through all the stretch goal barriers, the secondary objectives of the Kickstarter campaigns that add bonuses and extra versions for backers. Many, therefore, believed in the project, which will debut on consoles by the summer but has already arrived on PC, Mac and Linux thanks to the arrival on the main digital distribution platforms.


Without losing too much in further chat, it is worth pointing out right away that Hyper Light Drifter is a game that you shouldn't miss. This is so for a number of reasons that we will analyze in the lines of this review, but first of all because it is a very evocative and aesthetically sublime indie video game, as well as damn exciting and fun.

But what game are we talking about? Hyper Light Drifter tells the story of Drifter, an enigmatic character with a cloak, always dodging at hand and an innate ability to easily juggle swords and pistols, but also a mysterious disease to be treated. The player will be asked, tacitly, to activate four sections placed at the cardinal points of the map, littered with secrets, traps and enemies anxious to end the life of the protagonist before his natural death. The gameplay to support this feat is, essentially, that of a 2D action game with a top view and hints of role-playing mechanics. In Hyper Light Drifter you will therefore find yourself strengthening the skills of your alter ego, but also facing short puzzles related, rather than solving real puzzles, to the movements to be implemented to overcome a certain area of a level.

Its creator defined it several times as a meeting between The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Diablo and right from the start of the game we realize that dear Alex is not wrong, even going so far as to add us a pinch of the best of the current independent landscape and some tips from the Miyazaki king of Japanese animation (but also from the soulslike of From Software, if you want). My mind, for example, has "inconvenienced" references (both playful and artistic) to Fez, Hotline Miami, Titan Souls and several other masterpieces that will inevitably resurface in the memories of those who will try it.


The merit is above all, as you can guess from the images and the accompanying video, of the aesthetics of the game, made of surreal themes brought to life by a pixel art graphic which to define as delicious is an understatement. A riot of colors halfway between dream and nightmare, which rest their bases on a soundtrack and electronic matrix sound effects inspired in the same way. The painting is something tremendously suggestive, because it moves a plot and deliberately obscure events in the ways of doing, but also of communicating.

Hyper Light Drifter is, in fact, a game based exclusively on non-verbal and, therefore, only visual communication: you will not find captions of any kind to show you the way or carry on the story. There are little cartoons, pictographic conversations, evil visions and even some friendly faces, but none of the actors in the game will utter a word. Everything is amalgamated into a sort of dreamy impressionism, which expects the player to connect the ideal dots to compose the larger design, going to discover the mysteries surrounding the game.

What happened to the protagonist and his world? Who are the threatening bosses who dominate the main points of the map? Honestly, putting her artistic beauty aside for a moment, when I finished Hyper Light Drifter I asked myself even more questions. Questions that will probably find answers with a second run (perhaps using the New Game +) and the search for all the secrets scattered in the corners of the fantastic dungeons that make up the game levels, or maybe not. And I couldn't be happier.