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Hyper Light Drifter

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8.3

Great

8.7

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Game Reviews from around the web

100

Hyper Light Drifter is a breathtaking game that draws heavily from gaming’s most prominent pioneers without relying too heavily on their influence. It is an eclectic masterpiece that feels more like an experience than a video game.

100

Every element of Hyper Light Drifter blends together to form a near perfect action-adventure game that’s worthy to stand with the impeccable games it borrows from.

95

Hyper Light Drifter has already positioned itself as one of the best experiences of the year. It’s a challenging game, but it never feels unfair. The promise of seeing more of the world and hearing more of the fantastic soundtrack are worthwhile rewards for your tenacity. Despite seeing the finish line ahead of me, I did everything I could to prolong the experience by exploring every nook and cranny. I didn’t do it out of necessity; I did it because I wanted to stay in Hyper Light Drifter’s world for as long as possible.

90

Hyper Light Drifter is a highly personal tale from Alex Preston, and it’s in his honor that he managed to pass it through this medium in such a discreet and moving way. Its gameplay, storytelling, amazingly beautiful pixel art, and compelling soundtrack work in total harmony to present an utterly satisfying and unique indie game.

90

Even without the luminous pixel art to continue, there’s always an impetus to investigate further. [June 2016, p.116]

Edge Magazine

90

The mechanics aren’t always calibrated to work seamlessly with the difficulty, but even so, HLD is a stunning indie masterpiece. [Issue#251, p.65]

PC PowerPlay

90

Despite being relatively light in narrative, that shouldn’t stop anyone from playing this. The focus is clearly on combat and exploration, both of which are excellent examples of great design and execution.

90

If you look past an imperfect combat system, you’ll find that the first game created by Heart Machine (a one-man software house) has sophisticated gameplay, and a level design that encourages the player to explore every nook and cranny, slowly revealing what a real gem it actually is.

90

Hyper Light Drifter is a challenging 2D action-RPG experience just waiting for you to jump in and explore.

90

Heart Machine delivers a masterpiece, an impressive mixture of style and gameplay. Hyper Light Drifter is one of the best action game we have ever played, and showcases a complex and enchanting pixel art. It brings you into a silent and distant world, it tests your ability with a deep an fast paced gameplay; it’s the rightful heir of ’90s bidimensional adventures.

90

Hyper Light Drifter is a difficult and extremely cryptic action-adventure. A charming, compelling and intriguing experience spawned from the harsh life of its creator, and founder of Heart Machine, Alex Preston.

90

Hyper Light Drifter is one of the most perfectly balanced, stylish and intriguing action RPGs of recent times.

90

Hyper Light Drifter is one of the best Zelda-like, with a high difficult level. One of the year masterpieces.

90

Hyper Light Drifter transports the player into a world made by dreams and nightmares, that are sustained by a superb art direction and fresh gameplay. Heart Machine delivered an excellent and challenging adventure, and also an unmissable gem for the indie games’ fans.

90

As stunning as it is, Hyper Light Drifter’s greatest triumph isn’t in the story that it tells, but in the stories that it doesn’t. I don’t know this place’s entire history, but its desolate elegance inspires me to fill in the gaps myself. Such is the power of artistry this rich and thoughtful.

90

The combat and movement often left me slack-jawed and giddy, a perfect homage to the ’90s RPGs that obviously inspired Heart Machine, while still feeling completely fresh and constantly surprising.

90

If you’re someone who typically shrugs off indie games as somehow less meaningful then their AAA counterparts, you owe it to yourself to play Hyper Light Drifter. Alex Preston and his team have delivered a title that highlights everything great about the medium as a whole, it’s as simple as that.

88

While Hyper Light Drifter is sometimes too obscure for its own good, its combat is fierce and the environments stunningly beautiful. [May 2016]

Pelit (Finland)

88

Hyper Light Drifter is an exciting fast-paced adventure game, designed to pay tribute to a variety of cult classic games from the 90s. It does so with beautiful pixel art as well as detailed and mysterious spaces, not to mention an engaging and rewarding combat system.

87

Fighting and exploration in a visually stunning pixelart world.

85

From the very first seconds of the introductory cut-scene, from the very first notes of the soundtrack HLD sucked me into its masterfully crafted world, alternately engaging me with its intensity and soothing my nerves. Hyper Light Drifter is an instant classic. [06/2016, p.58]

CD-Action

85

Retro action with fantastic presentation and high difficulty – an indie gem for professionals with resistance to frustration.

85

A beautiful and challenging game with a fun and engaging combat system and a world worth exploring (even if doing so could be a bit frustrating).

85

I am on my second playthrough of Hyper Light Drifter, and I’m still obsessively piecing together what happened in the opening cutscene. I can’t think of a world in games that has ever been built this intricately out of pure abstraction, without the crucial foundation of explicit exposition beneath it. It replaces traditional narrative structures with moods, but punctuates those contemplative, quiet moments with constant scenes of breakneck, pitch-perfect action. Getting those two elements to not only coexist but thrive together is a needle that Hyper Light Drifter confidently threads.

85

A beautiful and hard experience that may have a narrative that’s just ok.

80

Hyper Light Drifter places high value on your efforts and sense of discovery. The impressionistic storytelling, inexplicit clues, and tough challenges, place the emphasis on your journey as a player. Things are never clearly laid out for you, but in the end, it’s both beautiful and satisfying.

80

Technically perfect game comes with fantastic visuals. Although it does not bring anything revolutionary, yet it is a must-have for all challenge seekers. [Issue#263]

LEVEL (Czech Republic)

80

Difficult and frustrating at first, later amazingly satisfying action RPG for demanding audience. Bite your lip, gaze upon its beautiful graphics and have a satisfying feeling of accomplishment offered only by few games.

80

Closer to Dark Souls than to Zelda, this magnificent 2D game feels lot more challenging and mysterious than expected. But Hyper Light Drifter is definitely rewarding for players who will be eager to find all its secrets.

80

Don’t be fooled by the pastel colors and lo-res graphics: Hyper Light Drifter is a hardcore action-platformer RPG with links to both Dark Souls platform gaming of the 1990s and poses plenty of challenges for even the toughest fighting game veterans.

80

Hyper Light Drifter offers an engaging, mysterious adventure. Heart Machine’s game demands patience, but rewards with great atmosphere and satisfying combat system. All we need is an addition 30 frames per second. 30 FPS lock can be a valid design choice, but not in a dynamic game with a focus on action.

80

Hyper Light Drifter is an exciting and challenging action RPG game.

80

Quotation forthcoming.

80

Out of the void, Hyper Light Drifter meticulously crafts a post-apocalyptic samurai story, one that bends and folds the tenets of zen’s vivid ambience alongside the warrior path of bushido, something familiar yet fresh, quiet yet resonant.

80

Beautiful presentation and an intriguing open world environment, but the misjudged difficultly level is just too punishing.

80

HLD merges a solid audiovisual presentation and a very interesting gameplay. It might get too difficult for some players, but if you’re used to playing RPGs and action games then there’s nothing to fear.

80

It leaves the combat to speak for the story and trusts its murderer’s row of cool ideas to, well, murder players.

78

Sizzling hot combat notched by unflinching difficulty. [June 2016, p.80]

Games Master UK

78

Hyper Light Drifter is a fantastic and unique experience that deserves to stand on its own merits, outside of Zelda’s shadow.

78

Stylish, beautiful, and uncompromising, Hyper Light Drifter is as rewarding as it is frustrating.

76

Hyper Light Drifter is a gorgeous, fast, fluid trek in a neon apocalypse that’s hindered by its wordless storytelling.

75

A worthy heir to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It compensates for its narrative shortcomings with immersive atmosphere, top-notch combat system and flawless pace.

70

Developers compare HDL to Legend of Zelda, but their biggest similarity is that the world is split between surface and dungeon “halves”. In HDL, you don’t explore dungeons, you clean them out: enter a room, kill everyone, proceed to the next. [Issue#209, p.72]

Game World Navigator Magazine

70

Ultimately Hyper Light Drifter is a great adventure game that begs to presented in a better way. A more clearly defined story and more intuitive exploration would make this game the adventure that it wants to be, but without those things Hyper Light Drifter falls flat.

60

Gorgeous, but more frustrating than fun. [Issue#174, p.77]

60

If you can get past its very obvious downsides and need to play a challenging, even a bit frustrating game, there’s no dilemma that Hyper Light Drifter is for you. Yet, we remain sad that we didn’t get to play the fantastic game which this one could have been had it spent more time in development. Maybe in the sequel.

Game Reviews from around the web

I’m so furious. I’ve ranted about boss fights SO many times, and argh, it’s happened again. A game I was absolutely adoring is now a game I can’t play at all, because of a wildly difficult boss fight.

There is an ominous inevitability, a sense of impending tragedy, about our hero’s lonely trek and stubborn refusal to go gentle into that good night that makes Hyper Light Drifter a rare experience and the battles of its otherwise inscrutable protagonist our own.

Hyper Light Drifter is very much worth the time, effort, and aggravation it costs you (and inflicts upon you). Its blistering speed takes some getting used to if your experience with action RPGs leans towards the likes of Zelda and Secret of Mana, but once you warm up to the icy slickness of Hyper Light Drifter, it quickly commits itself to your muscle memory. Within a few hours, you wonder how those punk werewolf enemies ever gave you such a hard time, especially since their attack cues are so slow and obvious.

If you can master the foreign language of its combat, you’ll find Hyper Light Drifter screaming with life and unfamiliar menace, waiting for you to awaken its technological giants.

Summary

A very difficult game that never feels unfair, Hyper Light Drifter is a gorgeous challenging adventure.
8.3

Great

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