GamingAugust 5, 2016

This Week I Played: Hyper Light Drifter


Our own thumb jockey Joseph Harper has a good old whack on a major tribute to old RGPs. He’s bloody into it.

Last week the ‘indie smash’, Hyper Light Drifter was released on PS4 and Xbox One, so I decided to revisit it. This almost goes without saying, but it’s an amazingly cool looking game. Alex Preston and his team at Heart Machine created this as a tribute to the 8 and 16 bit Action RPG classics of yore. The resultant game is fricken beautiful. Hyper Light Drifter’s “ruined world” is a massive, pink, Enter The Void masterpiece.


In Hyper Light Drifter you play as this guy in a cape who carries a light sword and keeps coughing up blood. You can shoot a rechargeable gun. You can cut things with your sword. There is a cool sit down animation. Your main move, though, is this little speed boost dash move. It allows you to jump across long distances and zig-zag your way through groups of enemies.

The game is set in a futuristic dystopia. You’re never told anything explicitly about what happened, but you’re given glimpses of massive robots and stuff. That’s one of the big selling points of the game; the enigmatic way the plot unfolds and the extremely rich world is built. It forces you to engage with it on a level that few games manage to achieve (or even try to). There is no dialogue. Just music, and gorgeous visuals that create a sense of awe. Some players will probably hate it, but it worked like magic on me.


It’s also really hard. Just getting a grip on the dash/slash mechanic takes a fair amount of time. Getting good at it takes even longer. By the time you’ve figured it out, the enemies become super-powerful. You also only have five hit points, which you recharge from time to time. It can be frustrating. But never in a terrible, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from the NES way. It just makes it all the sweeter when you manage to successfully dash/slash your way through a devious cyberpunk horde.


One of the Preston’s goals with the game was to recreate the feeling of a Super Nintendo game, praising the system’s “almost perfect games designed for limited environments.” With that in mind, you have to class Hyper Light Drifter as a huge success. It’s a simple game, you can pour hours into.

It’s a joy to play and the abstract storytelling makes for worthwhile replaying. Cool game. Very good. I like it.

Guys, guys: this content is all because of Bigpipe, the choice as ISP for cool people.

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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