Quantcast
Hyper Light Drifter is gorgeous and punishing - Destructoid




Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android


Hyper Light Drifter  



Hyper Light Drifter is gorgeous and punishing


5:45 PM on 03.18.2014
Hyper Light DrifterHyper Light Drifter is gorgeous and punishing photo



In recent times it seems as though games in 'retro-style' are on the rise. Perhaps this is nostalgia at work for a bygone era of gaming, or maybe there's an endearing spirit and honesty from gaming's past that still resonates with people. One such title that believes in the later is Hyper Light Drifter. After an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign, the developers have been keeping things pretty close to the vest since it was funded.

During GDC, IGN hosted their Media Indie Exchange event to show off new and upcoming titles from independent developers and on-hand were the developers of Hyper Light Drifter with a new build. After getting some much appreciated hands-on time, we spoke with Heart Machine's Alex Preston, got to learn how the development of Hyper Light Drifter has been going, and how you can incorporate retro games into modern game design.


Hyper Light Drifter is a 2D action-RPG title with a deep focus on exploration and combat. Players take on the role of an unnamed Drifter who must raid dungeons, collect loot, and try to survive in the unforgiving landscape.

As seen in many of the trailers, HLD places emphasis on atmosphere and mood. We explored a level on an eerie mountain pass as we made our way to a suspicious shrine at the top. Along the way, we were ambushed by local wildlife and magic users. The Drifter has many skills at his disposal, his sword and gun combo allow for swift action close range and at a distance.

Heart Machine wasn't shy about sharing its influences. The Legend of Zelda, Diablo, and even the more modern Phantasy Star Online have been a massive influence on the gameplay aesthetic and makeup. It is a skill based game that focuses more on player reflex, timing, and quick thinking. While the staples of RPG gameplay are present, such as character growth and stat boosts, the game is about skill at heart.

"I think a lot of people miss this genre in specific, they love older top down SNES titles," said Lead Designer Alex Preston while elaborating on the combat system. "It's much more about honing your skills. In fact, we've actually built the entire game to allow players [if they want] to not upgrade your character."

As evident in the footage released some time ago, the action is very fast and twitch based. Controls were simple and responsive, and you'll be utilizing the Drifter's weapons and special skills on the fly. Initially, players will come across single foes that don't pose too much of a problem -- but then things change when you come face to face with enemies in large groups. And let me tell you, things get incredibly chaotic when fighting ten or more foes looking to take the Drifter out. The key to combat is staying on the move, and the dodge mechanic allows players to move in and out of the action with ease.

While this wasn't present in the playable build, exploration is big part of the game and the developers at Heart Machine wanted to make player choice a big part of the experience. The Drifter will have access to a town hub, where he can purchase new equipment, restock on materials, and take up quests from the town's populace. While this my call to mind classic tropes from Zelda or Metroid, the developers were very clear about making the game open.

"We're keeping it pretty open, we're not going to lock players behind too many item walls or anything like that," said Preston. "There's no order of dungeons you have to go to, so if you want to head north, south, east, or west -- you can do that."

Even though it's still a ways off, Hyper Light Drifter has already garnered a loyal following beyond its Kickstarter backers. After the announcement of their delay, they received a lot of positive feedback from fans. "We can't be thankful enough of the fans," said Preston. "When we delayed the game from our initial June release date, they were very positive and wanted the best for the game. It's crazy that we have fans, we couldn't be more grateful for all the support."

With Hyper Light Drifter still a ways off, the folks at Heart Machine still have plenty of time to fine tune and add more content. I was quite impressed with my brief time with the game. I wanted to try another go, but the line got pretty long and I had to let go. This game can't come out soon enough.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.



I am Bread is just delightful photo
I am Bread is just delightful
12:15 PM on 10.17.2014





timeline following:
Hyper Light Drifter



1:00 PM on 10.10.2014
Hyper Light Drifter preview extended until October 31

You may remember that Hyper Light Drifter's three-day preview for backers at the $25 tier and up was rescheduled to run from October 3rd through the 5th. That brief window has been extended until the end of October, giving Dr...more



3:30 PM on 09.24.2014
Curious about Hyper Light Drifter? Why not play it this weekend?

[Update: Heart Machine has pushed back the preview build to next weekend, October 3 - 5.] As we've previously reported, Heart Machine's gorgeous-looking 2D ARPG Hyper Light Drifter is being pushed back until the end of 2014, ...more



1:00 PM on 04.16.2014
Hyper Light Drifter probably won't be out until early 2015

Heart Machine pushed back its wildly anticipated Hyper Light Drifter from the previous June 2014 release to the end of 2014. Heart Machine's Alex Preston, talking to Jonathan Holmes at PAX, explained that, while they're stil...more



12:00 PM on 04.11.2014
Hyper Light Drifter's co-op mode will have you dying over and over

Hyper Light Drifter is on the top of a lot of people's lists of most anticipated games. For good reason, too. The quick-paced, action-RPG with a retro aesthetic looks like it's going to be an absolute pleasure to play. I...more



5:00 PM on 03.14.2014
Here's some info on how Hyper Light Drifter is going to play

Hyper Light Drifter was one of the rare successful Kickstarters from 2013 that wasn't a reboot or a known developer looking for funds. Its eye-catching art style was a big draw and little by little we're getting more info ab...more



2:00 PM on 02.03.2014
Bittersweet: Hyper Light Drifter pushed back

The team behind Hyper Light Drifter has set a new release schedule and, yep, you know what's coming: this is yet another Kickstarter project that's grown large enough in scope to necessitate a delay. Backers will get to ...more



7:00 PM on 11.02.2013
Hyper Light Drifter combat video looks and sounds so good

Hyper Light Drifter, the recently Kickstarted action RPG, has released a new combat video and by gosh is it stunning. The animation is incredibly fluid and the music, courtesy of Disasterpeace, is somber enough to contrast t...more



2:00 AM on 10.11.2013
Hyper Light Drifter coming to the Wii U too

I'm pretty sure everyone on the Destructoid staff is excited for Hyper Light Drifter. Ever since that reveal trailer we've been keeping a steady eye on the progress of the game. They've been hitting their stretch goals steadi...more



12:30 PM on 09.18.2013
Hyper Light Drifter also headed to PS4 and PS Vita

As I wrote before, Heart Machine's 2D action-RPG Hyper Light Drifter has left quite the impression on me, and that's not changed. What has changed is the game's Kickstarter campaign, which doesn't show signs of slowing down. ...more




Role-Playing Games

11:00 PM on 10.17.2014
Shin Megami Tensei IV hits Europe on October 30

It's happening. It's finally happening. The long wait is nearly over. Shin Megami Tensei IV is coming to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand on October 30, Atlus announced today. Wow! That's a lot of p...more



12:30 PM on 10.17.2014
I picked up the Excalibastard in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

There has been a bit of talk about an interesting legendary weapon in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel that is in plain sight, but unavailable at first. Excalibastard is stuck in a stone in the area Stanton's Liver, and only those...more



12:30 PM on 10.16.2014
Bloodborne's last alpha session takes place on October 19, with multiplayer

Although October 5th's portion of the Bloodborne alpha was delayed, a new session is scheduled for October 19 for all of the applicable regions, to get one last adventure in. Japan is scheduled for 20:00-23:00, North Ame...more



View all Role-Playing Games






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more