Hyper Light Drifter Review

The opening cut scene was for lack of a better word, is strange. You can tell a lot of time was put into the details, I know from experience pixel art is not something you can bang out in a day.
HLD1

As soon as I am given the reins I am instantly amazed by the beautiful pixel art and the character animations are gorgeous. The movement is fluid and combat move animations just flow so well.

Combat is challenging and fast paced, you got to keep on your toes because something will hit you. Despite learning how some enemy attacks work the creatures will catch you off guard, you think you’re doing really well then one small mistake will end up taking some of your life away. Traversing the overworld can be tricky as there are cliffs and drops throughout, so the dash move allows you to pass over gaps with ease. One thing that ruins the combat/ movement is the use of a gun the you acquire, holding LT and using the left thumb stick rather than the right allows you to aim.

Playing games for 20 odd years I’ve been through the evolution of controllers. D-pad movement all the way through to analogue sticks being introduced, now what confuses me is why aiming is set to the left analogue stick and not the right, movement is stopped as soon as you aim so using the left stick just breaks the flow. I mean you can fire the gun while running but you end up missing a lot of shots and then you have to use your sword to regain shots. I kinda would have liked to aim while moving in combat.

HLD2

Something I haven’t mentioned yet (I am awful at structuring reviews) is the story. Now I don’t feel that a review should mention a story as it a pain trying not to spoil it for anyone, but I do not have a single clue as to what is going on. Some stuff happens and you end up in a town, I walk around the town trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do. There are shops dotted around and when you speak to the shop NPC there is just a pop up with something that I assume I can buy. Some NPC’s will have a speech bubble above their head, you speak to them and it’s just images being shown to you, no dialogue, nothing. So after taking a gander at the nicely drawn pixel map I just decided to head north and see whats about. I know stories don’t necessarily need dialogue and text, stories sometimes just make sense but I just can’t work it out.

HLD3

The difficulty goes from manageable to you are going to die repeatedly very quickly, one part I died many times due to sliding blocks that crush you and tough enemies. Checkpoints are horrible because you die, spawn at checkpoint, enemies have spawned again, rinse and repeat. I know Dark Souls is hard but that is a pretty much constant degree of difficulty throughout whereas this just screws you over when you least expect it. All the dungeons you go down to all play out differently but generally you do similar things, dash around the puzzle of a dungeon room, avoid enemy attacks in the process, ash around again then die while trying to kill things. Gets very frustrating after a while.

HLD4

I feel like this game has a lot to offer like a beautiful art style, weird sci-fi music and sounds, tense combat, difficult puzzle rooms where you dash over gaps, avoid blocks and vanishing floor tiles all while dodging enemy fire. I’m going to continue playing this after publishing this review just to see where this game goes in terms of story, why all the mystery? Well hopefully I’ll find out.

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