Analysis of Hyper Light Drifter. Hyper Light Drifter and his long journey … now on Switch

Hyper Light Drifter
Written by Kamran Haider

A special edition for a very special video game. Abylight Studios adapts to Nintendo Switch the pixel art adventure of the indie studio Heart Machine, which premieres on the console with interesting novelties. Challenging? Yes, but also fun and exciting. Analysis of Hyper Light Drifter.

Lost in the middle of nowhere; surrounded by dangers and without anyone telling us what to do or how to act in the face of such threats. If something defines Hyper Light Drifter it is the rudeness with which it receives the new players, throwing them into the adventure without contemplations, without stopping a second to explain what you are doing there, who you are, or what exactly you should do. Your instinct will guide you through winding paths, labyrinthine dungeons that come to the point, you will adore for the beauty of its pixel art graphics. And this is what makes this adventure of action halfway between the classic The Legend of Zelda and the popular Souls saga from From Software, which like so many other indie games has just premiered in Nintendo Switch. And he does it with interesting news thanks to the work of the Spanish team Abylight Studios, who have not been satisfied with simply adapting the Heart Machine video game, looking for a way to make this a more friendly experience. I explain.

At the time I talked about how quickly you could go from love to hate in this beautiful action adventure because of certain design decisions that really made you feel lost … and not in a good way. It is not something that per se seems wrong to me, rather I like the idea, but not in the way it is proposed. Its labyrinthine level design and the lack of clear indications on a map that seems to be there of adornment and little else is a barrier that not everyone will be willing to overcome. And it’s a real shame because entering the post-apocalyptic world that recreates this work is an incredible experience, of those that leave their mark. The trip can be done very uphill, yes, but the spirit to discover a new scenario, which is the artistic are spectacular, or just face a more fearsome monster than the previous one encourages to move forward. The solution? A new costume that helps locate hidden objects that serve to improve the level of the protagonist.


Seen in this way it might seem that Hyper Light Drifter significantly reduces its level of difficulty, but nothing is further from reality! Although with the special outfit equipped it will be easier to find the precious golden gems that enhance the skills of the dying hero, you will still feel lost, alone, in the precious open world to which the game gives life.

You will go over and over again the dungeons that you find along the way, and you will look desperately for the precious purple gems necessary to access the chief of the circle without much success. “He’s supposed to be here!” You will scream when you take a look at the map. And yes, they should be there, but the clues that are offered are so cryptic that at times you will want to set the map on fire. It’s no use! Not even to register places of interest to which to return later, when you have enough keys to open secret doors. There are already lots of them.

It’s loneliness at its best, that’s what makes it such a special videogame.

The problem is not so much the lack of clues as to the confusing design of some dungeons, which hide their best secrets behind false walls – of those that are they can go through- and other elements of the style that can easily be overlooked. “Could you go through those trees?” You will exclaim relieved to discover the path to salvation. It sounds worse than it really is, it’s true because if you pay attention to the elements that surround you, you will successfully overcome the many challenges posed by Hyper Light Drifter; but you may also get discouraged and lose the illusion to keep going. It would be a real pity.

Although I love the feeling of being lost in a world as sad and beautiful as the one that recreates the Heart Machine team, I feel that those responsible have gone from enigmatic to unnecessarily increasing the difficulty of a video game that is already quite hard because of the forcefulness with which the monsters that will cross our path attack. That it offers freedom, that it is cryptic in the tracks, or that the enemies remain very healthy with each stroke are not negative aspects by themselves but in this particular case, they also do not allow him to show his best face.

The fighting such is the surprisingly rapid pace of action. You hit with the sword, you dodge and then shoot with the firearms. So again and again, measuring the forces against rivals that will not be quiet for a second. They will attack from a distance, they will attack with all their strength, and they will even use traps arranged by the stage to end your life. And they will, will they? In line with the Souls saga, dying in Hyper Light Drifter is very easy. A couple of blows are enough to fall at your feet. Which I love, but I also understand that there is someone who frustrates such difficulty. Because here I talk about the minions but if I enter to value the jefazos… they are a brutal challenge! An exciting and epic, as it could not be otherwise, but also something exasperating for those with little patience.fighting

We are facing a very special game that artistically falls in love

Improving our skills we will be able to defend ourselves better, but even so, the challenge will not disappear at any time. As an interesting point, it highlights the importance of firearms. They are powerful, yes, but their ammunition is limited and we can only recover it by hitting the enemies, so it’s time to put ourselves at risk so we can use them again. In this sense, Abylight Studios incorporates a new sword, called Blade Caster, as well as the Crystal Shotgun, capable of freezing enemies. How to unlock this new team? Overcoming the new area, Tower Climb, which has also shaped the Spanish studio, respecting the essence of the original video game. A great addition that feels perfectly integrated into the action of Hyper Light Drifter.

firearmsWhat doubt fits. This is a special video game. From the beauty of its pixel art graphics , to the strength of its soundtrack composed by the author of Fez or the film It Follows, Disaster piece , which returns to sign a work worthy of praise; going through the hardness of the combats, the design of the jefazos, or the enigmatic staging of the game. Despite being a hard nut to crack, Hyper Light Drifter is a high-quality action adventure that is worth trying. There are details and good ideas that have not been captured with all the expected success, but they are minutiae compared to the good times that will make you pass the game. The penalty in the storyalso goes from cryptic, letting us imagine who has happened in this fantasy world, but without fully exploiting its potential or provide the necessary tools to fully understand the story. It is bet by some illustrated vignettes to narrate without words events that happened in the past, but it lacks the force to the argument and something more of consistency. It has a role too secondary to how attractive the game world is.

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There are trips that are worth living and the one that Hyper Light Drifter proposes is one of them. However frustrating it may sometimes turn out to be, or as difficult as it may be to overcome some of its challenges. Something has this retro style adventure that encourages you to keep going; to continue exploring with passion the corners of that enigmatic post-apocalyptic world in which, unfortunately, it is so easy to get lost. And it’s a great but. Beyond the harshness of the combats, the sensation of walking lost without knowing what to do can throw back more than one. Be patient, the effort is worth it.

  • Artistically it is a game often. Also, his soundtrack is great
  • The combats are exciting. The pace of the action is good
  • Freedom to explore a vast world full of dungeons …
  • … although the confusing design of levels can sometimes despair
  • The lack of information can play tricks on you


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Kamran Haider

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