What’s the Noise About Hyper Light Drifter?
Hyper Light Drifter was released on 31st March after the, very excited, developers finally unleashed their game upon the public. HLD was funded through Kickstarter and has had a community of excited fans watching for its release for some time now. The development trailers were all beautiful and very impressive, but now that the finished product is out we can finally delve into the strange and intriguing world that HeartMachine have created!
The thing that hits you first is the perfect combination of the game’s graphics and stunning soundtrack. The top-down retro art style of the game and its fantastic colour palette truly accentuate the mysterious world you find yourself in whilst the music interweaves to create a wonderful atmosphere. The world your character falls into is littered with ancient and abandoned alien technologies and definitely gives off a Sci-Fi vibe within a setting that also contains a Fantasy feel.
The Controls fo Hyper Light Drifter
I have been using the keyboard and mouse to play the game and it becomes apparent fairly quickly that combat and movement would feel much better if I was playing with a controller. The game does have full controller support and it is recommended that take advantage of it if you want to get the best experience possible from Hyper Light Drifter.
However, even with a keyboard and mouse the combat has been fine, if a little confusing at times; being able to aim the gun using the mouse is the only real benefit from using a keyboard over a controller. Another thing that becomes clear about an hour into the game is that HLD is certainly not going to be an easy thing to beat. Oh no no no sir, not at all. There will be no forgiveness for mistakes made in this realm, so beware travellers and keep your swords ready.
The Story of Hyper Light Drifter
The overall story behind the game is a simple one. Your character has some kind of terminal illness and is trying to reach the cure. As you traverse the world and make your way into different areas you encounter NPCs that provide snippets of background story for you although the game tells you nothing in words. Information about the world is shown to you through images. This method allows for further use of the game’s stunning art style, which is implemented effectively in describing how each area of the map suffered the fate it did.
There is no real set order in which you need to tackle each area of the map, other than the fact that one area is locked off until you have completed the other three. The three areas of the map have varying levels of difficulty and one is definitely easier to complete than the other two. Each area has a different appearance and features different types of enemies with a variety of attacks, culminating in (you guessed it) a boss.
As you traverse these regions you will find hidden places containing secrets or slices of lore about the world. NPC characters can be found who generally give you a glimpse into what happened to this place and help fill in the overall background story. For the true explorers, things like extra outfits can be located on your travels! Sure, it’s not as important for the gameplay obviously but who doesn’t enjoy looking awesome?
The RPG elements of the game lie in weapon and ability upgrading. You find different weapons as you play and they can be upgraded at the shops in the central town, as can abilities like the dash. You can slightly tailor the way you tackle the game through building your character in different ways but the combinations are limited.
Overall, Hyper Light Drifter is a beautiful and challenging game with an immersive world full of intriguing lore and difficult monsters. So delve in and allow this truly wonderful piece of game design to entertain, amaze and probably frustrate you.