Justin ignorantly jumps into another beautiful adventure, and this time the action keeps up with the art. Hyper Light Drifter has a lot going for it and it's just getting started.
Previous Hyper Light Drifter Experience
- Backed the Kickstarter
- Watched Kickstarter trailer and gif animation, artwork examples
- Played a couple of minutes of the beta before deciding to wait on release
Initial Expectations, Hopes, Dreams, Fears
- I knew it was gonna be pretty and it was going to animate well.
- Disasterpeace kicks ass, so the music was gonna be atmospheric and great.
- Worried that the action and the world would be boring and soulless. No reason for this fear other than I thought all the effort would go into the art.
- It would be short or small in scope (again based on the quality of the art). I expected quality and not quantity.
- I was being pessimistic in hopes the game would surprise me.
What actually happened
Everything started according to my expectations as Hyper Light Drifter established a mysterious world right from the start. I was surprised to see so much of the Kickstarter art used in the intro because it made the rest of the game so much more of a blank canvas. After the initial cutscene, my fears about the controls were immediately put to rest because the character was much faster and more responsive than I could have hoped. Exploring Hyper Light Drifter was going to be fun.
The rest of my experience felt a bit like a leisurely tour of the environment as I was introduced to game mechanics one by one. However, my first death knocked me back into reality as I started to see the pieces coming together. Combat was going to be fast, yet leave room for strategy and defensive maneuvering. Handling a couple of enemies at a time was no problem and the killing blows were satisfying enough for it not to get boring. The threat of being swarmed by multiple enemies, though, kept me on my toes. My leisurely tour wasn't as safe as I thought and overcoming the danger definitely made it feel like an adventure.
There's also plenty of skill and weapon upgrades that reward exploration and engaging in tougher battles with enemies. I want to see how my Drifter feels fully powered up, but I'm ok with not rushing the progress to get there quickly. From what I could tell, the basic world structure is setting up for at least 4 large boss fights with plenty of minion and mini-boss fights along the way. Getting to the bosses is going to require a lot of discovery of hidden passages and a bit of time to learn how the map comes together.
I kept trying to find some piece of Hyper Light Drifter that I didn't like, but it wasn't happening. Not only that, but all of its pieces come together in such a complementary way that the full game itself becomes an even more impressive accomplishment.
Will I keep playing?
Hyper Light Drifter is much deeper than I could have hoped. It's not just another pretty indie game as it pushes the action-adventure RPG genre forward in its own ways. I want to get lost in this game for as long as it will have me.
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