Indie,  Nintendo Switch,  Reviews

Hyper Light Drifter – Special Edition

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Title:  Hyper Light Drifter – Special Edition
Developer:  Heart Machine
Publisher:  Abylight
Genre:   2D Action RPG
Platform:  Nintendo Switch
Audience:  12
Price:  £17.99 – I was very kindly provided with a review code for this game.

What the Developer’s say:

Maximum quality 60 fps
Play it anywhere, alone or with a friend!
Exclusive Nintendo Switch content:

Find secrets with the help of the new outfit
Complete the Tower Climb challenge
Freeze your enemies with the Crystal Shot
Master the deadly Blade Caster

Stepping into the darkness…

You begin by selecting your difficulty level, I went for standard.  You then have to choose a name for your save file.

Sucking the light and life out of the city.

The game opens with a dramatic cutscene.  There is a platform with four corners, each lighting up to reveal a dog-like creature standing in the middle.  It cuts to a floating object, hovering above the city.  There’s an explosion of light.  Next, there are monsters, death and a hero standing amongst the dead. Darkness descends.  The hero is ill but continues to fight.

He wields a sword.  Then, the dog-like character is standing next to you. Huge doors open and the dog leaves.  Your hero reaches for the light. After this, the game begins with your character, around a campfire.  It is raining.  You then stand up, stopping every now and then to be sick.

The first steps of your journey begin.

Into the darkness…

I found myself wandering around the world, admiring the vistas and beautiful landscapes.  Be careful though, the enemies are relentless and won’t give you much time to appreciate the views.  Each corner of the map has a different art style.  I did wonder if it was linked to the four seasons.

The game is absolutely gorgeous!

The story of the game is told through silent conversations with different characters you encounter on your journey.  You are shown a number of pictures, usually showing a conflict of some sort.  It’s a unique experience, in that you have to try and fill in the gaps yourself.  This will allow players to create their own stories in their heads.

The combat is slick, you can shoot your gun, throw a grenade or use your trusty sword.  I did find it quite difficult, to begin with.  I quickly learnt that this isn’t a game in which you can run gun-ho into battle.

To defeat the enemies, you’ll need a combination of timing, patience and accuracy.  The game does reward you with some more abilities and weapons as the game goes on.  This does make things a little bit easier.

My only criticism of the game was that occasionally in combat, I found trying to replenish my health was a little slow.  It was as if the game didn’t recognise my input.  This seemed to happen now and again when using my sword.

The game can be quite relentless at times, and you will find yourself dying rather frequently.  Luckily, there is no permadeath, so you start from the last checkpoint.  Even then though, it can be quite frustrating as you’ll have to repeat some tricky bits.

Death and destruction are everywhere.  Some things seem to be frozen in time.
Who is this mysterious warrior?

The little companion that follows you around reminded me of the Ghost in Destiny.  It will lead you to paths, to items or areas of interest, including some secrets.  It is also very useful because it will remind you when it is time to replenish your health.  However, this can be a little annoying if you do not have any health packs left!

One of the many tablet like structures you can activate throughout the game.

I discovered later in the game that you are able to customise the look of your little companion and your hero.  This was really cool!

Collecting these batteries will light up a square in a microchip-like device.  Getting 4 microchips will result in a complete square.  You can then use these to upgrade weapons and abilities.  Pro tip – Make sure, if you die after collecting a battery, you need to go back and to collect it again.

This upgrade costs 2 chips.

There are gates throughout the game which are locked.  Each one tells you how many triangles you’ll need to unlock them.  As there isn’t a set route to follow, the game does rely on you remembering to go back and open the portals once you’ve collected enough keys.

I also discovered that there were many keys hidden throughout the world.  They can be found in some very unique locations.  Look everywhere and listen to your companion for clues.

Not enough keys this time!

Pulling these switches out of the ground activates a light segment on the map.

Once you’ve defeated the bosses and activated all of the light towers (this is what I’m calling them!).  You are able to make your way to the end boss.

The game comes to a dramatic conclusion with a really challenging boss fight.  It took me ages to kill it, however, once I found some patience and the correct pattern, I was able to take it down.  It also helped to have certain abilities and guns unlocked.  As with all of the bosses in this game, have some patience.

Judgement Day

In conclusion…

Hyper Light Drifter is another fantastic 2D Action RPG game on the Nintendo Switch.  After putting more than 100 hours into this game, I highly recommend it.  The combination of the beautiful art style, unique storytelling and puzzle solving, makes this a must play.  The team at Abylight and Heart Machine have done an amazing job and this would have to be one of my games of the year.


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