Hyper Light Drifter

Tonight I briefly play through the preview build of Hyper Light Drifter.

Hyper Light Drifter is a Kickstarter indie title that comes to us from a small team called Heart Machine. This title has been on my radar for a while now and as you watch the preview I think you can see why. HLD is, in a word, ambitious. The gameplay showcased even in the preview build, is deep, we’re talking layers upon layers of intricacy that you just don’t see in these smaller titles. On the one hand you have combat. It’s elegant, two modes of attack to fit your situation. In the one hand you have your sword, made of hard light which functions as your melee, and in your off hand you’ll carry a gun. This is where things start to get wild. Your sword deals out sweet combos. Deal enough of them in order (or at the right time so it seems), and your sword will suddenly be super charged for a brief amount of time and do extra damage (sawing them in half!). That’s not all the tricks up it’s sleeve either, it can be combined with your hyper dash to create a deadly lunge that delivers a solid blow to enemies. The sword has one more secret for the daring adventurer, it can reflect back projectiles in the directions you hit them! Far more likely however you will whiff the timing and eat lead.

Speaking of which you have an arsenal of guns all your own. The demo contains several varieties of gun, ranging from a pistol to a ball grenade that you control the trajectory of. I must confess the shotgun and sniper rifle variants ended up my favorites, but there are kiosks scattered about where you can swap them out to fit the situation. That the combat is deep is a given, the enemies you use those weapons on are no joke, they are smart and aggressive, and will actively work against you. Overconfidence will see you back at the start of a room many times. More than that the play must use their weapons and combine them with the terrain and their own speed to achieve victory. Strategy is key in assaulting large forces of enemies, going gung-ho will get you squashed flat.

I could go on and on about combat, but that would be doing a disservice to the rest of the game. HLD is an adventure, and when you aren’t slaying enemies you’re exploring. In this game that means finding the path that’s right for you and obtaining all the hidden collectibles, keys, and weapons. I have collected every single item from the demo including the optional cape (it starts red) so unfortunately it’s hard to see, but you’ll notice I will find myself inexplicably off the beaten path to collect an item that isn’t there. HLD is devilish about hiding them and I love it.

If you haven’t seen the game before check out the video above or visit their Kickstarter page to see the trailer and get hyped. Hyper Light Drifter will be launching later this year for Windows, PS4, Vita, Xbox One, WiiU, GNU/Linux, Mac OS, and Ouya.

Does anyone actually still own an Ouya?