I first heard about the concept for Hyper Light Drifter on ‘Kickstarter‘ back in 2014.
Initially Indie Developer, Alex Preston wanted $27,000 to bring Hyper Light Drifter to Windows & Linux but the final total was close to $650,000. This enabled him to launch on more platforms including consoles such as the Playstation4 and XBone.
Kickstarter is flooded with campaigns for Indie games, so why did Hyper Light Drifter do so well?
I mean, it does have one of the coolest names for a game in a while but there must be more to it than that…
Alex wanted to bring the look and feel of 2D action adventures, such as Zelda & Diablo with the tight responsive game play you used to see in titles on the Super Nintendo Console, together. Quite a premise for a game but throw in a modern take on 16-bit Retro graphics, a really colourful intense game world for you to explore with an atmospheric soundtrack and you are on to a winner.
You are ‘The Drifter’, a futuristic treasure hunter by occupation that drifts from world to world discovering long lost artefacts. In this world you have been caught up in it’s apocalyptic destruction and in the process you have inherited a fatal illness, suggesting that this will be the last world you visit. You explore and fight your way through the world meeting some friendly and some not so friendly inhabitants, looking for a cure and helping a mysterious Egyptian character achieve its means. The goal of which becomes slowly apparent as the game progresses.
Combat is one of the main selling points for me. It is simple, slick and you will discover after playing for 3 hours straight, totally addictive. You have a light sword and a gun at your disposal, both of which start with really basic move sets but which can be later upgraded into more useful and complicated attack patterns. Switching quickly between swiping and firing becomes a challenge that you really want to master and keeps you coming back for more.
Enemies to defeat are plenty and are all very different involving the need for a myriad of strategies to be used in order to defeat them. As well as attack you can also dodge by instantly ‘light jumping’ in the direction you are facing for just enough distance to avoid the on-coming danger. Enemy hordes can swarm you but quickly eliminating them using the skills at your disposal is enjoyable and not a grind, unlike other similar action titles. You really don’t mind picking up the controller for one more attempt at defeating your foes.
Hyper Light Drifter is graphically polished and a feast for the eyes. You will not get bored exploring the world and hunting down artefacts which can be used to power up your abilities is exciting and rewarding. There is just enough of the story arc unfolding a step at a time to keep you in the game until it’s ending scenes.
Heart Machine, the Dev’s behind the game have achieved something very special and unique in Hyper Light Drifter. You can tell this was a work of love and passion. It really was a hugely successful Kick Starter Indie Game and just shows that a great idea can come into fruition through an intelligent and well run Campaign.
This is a game that every PC or Console owner should pick up and experience.
Update: Hyper Light Drifter confirmed for Vita, Release date TBC