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Hyper Light Drifter Is a Love Letter to Zelda/Metroidvania fans.

STORY – FINESSE?

Hyper Light Drifter greets newcomers with a dark yet compelling intro cinematic. Four characters that almost resemble Idols light up, and an explosion happens which evidentially kills many creatures or humans. Suddenly, your main character appears in a flash as if homeboy learned instant transmission from goku. Skip ahead a few moments and your character wakes up next to a fire after battling dark creatures and reaching out for a purple crystal of some sort.

Most interesting part of it all is that the story is verbally silent. There is no dialogue. All conversations and story pieces are told through animations and pop up on-screen art. Not only is the main character silent, everyone is. Each characters story will be told in either an animation or beautiful pop up artwork without words. This leaves a lot of room for the mind to fill in the blanks which makes for an engaging story where different people can walk away with slightly difference experiences.</FINESSE>

GAME-PLAY – SWAG OR NO SWAG?

The game does give you a brief tutorial but you will know after 10 minutes that it isn’t to be messed with. You will travel the somewhat desolate land fighting creatures and bouncing in an out of dungeons looking for diamond key thingies. Don’t judge me. I told you this silent game is pretty vague. You are given a wicked sword that almost hooks around your hand and a gun. What else could a man need? Well, lets go down the list of hyper light awesome things you get…
  1. Wicked Sword: CHECK
  2. Wicked Gun: CHECK
  3. Dash Button: CHECK
  4. Cape: Check
Fighting, dashing, and shooting are really the name of the game here. And it is a joy to traverse the world doing these 3 basic things. Your two weapons are also upgrade-able which will be mandatory since enemy AI is impressively smart. You may dash and slash but just know that these enemies dodge and hit hard. The game will also blitz you with many quick enemies at the same time in the dungeons. Not to mention the dungeons are continually trying to destroy you as well. Bosses are also on another level. Right when you feel like a hyper light neon ninja, the bosses will drown you in enough failure to make you realize you cant just dash and slash forever without a strategy.
My issue with the gameplay is the same reason I love the game: Hyper Light Drifter Throws you into the world with a sword, a gun, and guidance thinner than a ghetto taco on a diet. I went into a store in the town trying to buy something and it wouldn’t let me but even the screen was so vague I couldn’t tell what the symbol for currency was or how to obtain it. After being saved from a huge robot looking monster towards the beginning, you’re given a prompt to view a computer which maybe possibly gives clues of your next goal but all you see are vague diamonds on the screen which almost look like a puzzle missing a piece but I’m really just stretching at this point. The game does not hold your hand in getting around and you will feel actual difficulty spikes when bosses come to wreck your life and send your ashes to the ma and pa. Traversing the world definitely gives you a zelda vibe when you use your sword to slice at grass.(Haven’t found a chicken to carry…) And I felt metroid all over this game after about 10 minutes due to the overwhelming feeling of independence on this adventure. Keep in mind every character is silent.</SCORE – SWAG>

 

MUSIC – DAB OR NO DAB?

 

Honestly, the music appropriately fits the games dark apocalyptic vibe. It feels like electronic ambiance for a world thats only half alive. So like..imagine you were in space, half the world was filled with dead mountain like robots and the ground had a blood-like liquid after the destruction in the beginning..then you ran around dashing and slashing in a cape. Yeah, thats pretty much what the music feels like. It never gets your blood rushing or your head bopping but it definitely makes you feel the weight of the world and grasp the violence/hard times people in villages have experienced. Does the music accurately express and fill out that atmosphere? Definitely. Does the music lack variation in a huge way? Definitely. If you like somewhat depressing ambient music that sounds like you and the world are recovering from violence and destruction in the most empty way possible, then this music will be your cup of tea.</SCORE – NO DAB>

 

GRAPHICS – EYE OR NO EYE?
This game will potentially convert indie game haters into lovers with it’s beautiful graphics and attention to detail. Graphics are actually gorgeous and will keep you staring. Many of the mountains you’ll see in the background are actually giant robot/monsters which have died or rusted. Some of the landscapes will just make you stop and take it in. The attention to detail when you slash skeletons lying against a wall, when you dash across a gaping hole, and when you view the amazing art in the stories told through picture will amaze you. This is definitely an area where Hyper Light Drifter shines.</SCORE – EYE>

 

Finale – BUY OR NO BUY?

 

This game will be on a top 10 list for retro indie games this year. Hyper Light Drifter stands out with beautiful art and animation that pulls you in. The gameplay will remind you of some of the metroidvania classics millennials may call childhood. Don’t let the beautiful graphics fool you either, this game is pretty difficult. Don’t expect too much hand holding here. And because of the way the narrative is told, the story will give each player something different to walk away with.</SCORE – BUY>

 

CURRENT DEAL: You can actually get this game for 17.99 on the humble bundle website. Here’s a lil love for my homies on a budget *GAME*
DEVELOPER: Heart Machine
PUBLISHER: Heart Machine
CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITE HERE

 

This game is currently available on PC, Mac, and Linux and will be coming to PS4 and Xbox One in 2016.
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