Top Critic Average
Hyper Light Drifter is very much worth the time, effort, and aggravation it costs you (and inflicts upon you). Its blistering speed takes some getting used to if your experience with action RPGs leans towards the likes of Zelda and Secret of Mana, but once you warm up to the icy slickness of Hyper Light Drifter, it quickly commits itself to your muscle memory.
Hyper Light Drifter is a breathtaking game that draws heavily from gaming's most prominent pioneers without relying too heavily on their influence. It is an eclectic masterpiece that feels more like an experience than a video game.
The more I think about my time with Hyper Light Drifter, as well as my continued journey in New Game Plus, the more I realize how much I like this game. Every aspect of it contains a high bar of quality. The sound work, composed by Disasterpeace, is subtle, but will crescendo at just the right moments. The graphics are a throwback to a bygone era of gaming, but also effectively convey a real and lived in world rich in mythology and fantastical events. Combat has a solid foundation that it builds upon, and enemies are fun to fight or watch plummet to the abyss below thanks to a disappearing platform. Hyper Light Drifter is a game you should not miss out on.
Since the initial release of the game, two features have been added to Hyper Light Drifter. Shortly after release, a drop in, drop out local co-op mode was added, alleviating some of the difficulty issues for players with helpful friends. Even more helpful for players who found the game too tough is the more recently added Newcomer mode which disables some achievements but gives players more health and ammo at the start of the game.
Hyper Light Drifter is an exceptional game. With a beautifully mature pixel art aesthetic, seamless sound design, highly refined, often punishing gameplay, and a unique world full of secrets, it's a fine example of what can be achieved by an indie studio - or any studio, period. The oblique presentation and certain aspects of the gameplay might well drive some gamers away, however.
Highly-recommended purchase for fans of the Action-RPG genre, people who gamed in the 90’s, and anyone wishing to study video games as art. And with such a low price tag, Hyper Light Drifter is a no-brainer.
Mood and atmosphere can carry me a long way, and I adored every second I spent in Hyper Light Drifter's world. The combat and movement often left me slack-jawed and giddy, a perfect homage to the '90s RPGs that obviously inspired Heart Machine, while still feeling completely fresh and constantly surprising.
Hyper Light Drifter transfers the player in a world made by dreams and nightmares, that are sustained by a superb art direction and a fresh gameplay. Heart Machine delivered an excellent and challenging adventure, and also an unmissable gem for the indie games' fans.
Review in Italian | Read full review
To put it simply, Hyper Light Drifter is incredible. Lovingly wrapped in a distinctly retro shell, the title fires on all cylinders. An intriguing, abstract narrative set in one of the most beautifully vivid world's we've ever seen helps provide a near flawless experience. Add in great combat and controls as well as an amazing soundtrack, and the end result is easily one of this year's must-plays. Its difficulty may scare away some, but for all who can cope, the experience is a truly rewarding one.
Hyper Light Drifter is a challenging 2D action-RPG experience just waiting for you to jump in and explore. It's not going to guide you by the hand, tone down its difficulty, or even tell you what's going on. That's all for you, as the player, to work out. However, underneath this obscurity and open-ended-ness is some of the most fast-paced and challenging action to come out this year.
Heart Machine delivers a great masterpiece, an impressive mixture of style and gameplay. Hyper Light Drifter is one of the best action game we ever played, and showcases a complex and enchanting pixel art. It brings you in a silent and distant world, it tests your ability with a deep an fast paced gameplay; it's the rightful heir of '90s bidimensional adventures.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Cameron Kunzelman tweets at @ckunzelman and writes about games at thiscageisworms.com. His latest game, Epanalepsis, was released on May 21. It's available on Steam.
Sure, The Division is a great game that has hooked millions into its addictive gameplay loop and Far Cry Primal did breathe a bit of fresh air into a stale formula, but 2016 has been off to a strong start as the clear result of its outstanding independent titles.
Hyper Light Drifter is a great game, but it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. It's polished to a mirror shine, it's tuned to mechanical harmony, it's gorgeous for the eyes and ears alike, but has a plot that doesn't even try (or even seemingly care) to make sense. It can also be really, really tedious to play through, as it leans heavily on classical, trial-and-error mechanics. It's a rare and beautiful gem that only certain people will find the full, true value in.
Hyper Light Drifter is a wonderful combination of good game design and enchanting aesthetic direction. With solid gameplay backed up by slick production values and a theme of heroism and self sacrifice that runs deep through the entire runtime, this is a game which enriches any player lucky enough to spend time with it. Enter with zero expectations, slowly feel yourself become a master, and rightfully applaud Heart Machine once you have finished.
Hyper Light Drifter is unique, it highlights the issues of a real person in an abstract way. This game plays very smoothly, and offers stunning visuals and rigid difficulty. Hyper Light Drifter is a lot of fun, and it's beautiful too. It's a memorable experience, and can keep you interested the whole way through.
In the end if you’ve been itching for a game that mixes top-down adventure with challenging combat and secrets to discover pretty well all around you Hyper Light Drifter is a very appealing package. The added Switch content is a terrific touch worth the trouble to try to take advantage of as it will make finding those critical elements that will help you on your way a little easier. There’s simply nothing quite like it on the platform and it’s well worth your time if you’re up to the challenge.
In another triumph for the humble indie game, Hyper Light Drifter delivers the year’s best action-adventure hybrid so far. It’s best in class on all fronts that count, offering up razor sharp gameplay, an ultra-stylish coat of paint that, when served with a smashing synth, drips an unforgettable atmosphere.
Hyper Light Drifter is a sensory overload from a visual and audio standpoint. Add in the sublime gameplay, and even with its high difficulty and lack of direction at times and players are still left with a very satisfying game.
Filled with secrets to be found, and strong foundation on core combat, Hyper Light Drifter is a deep experience. Fun for a seven hour journey of exploration, or many more hours for completion, it offers plenty of value and enjoyment for its price.
Hyper Light Drifter is a great homage to the generation of 8/16-bit games that came before, while respecting the sense of wonder they produced long ago. Parts can be taxing, but ultimately rewarding. Try not to break your controller.
Hyper Light Drifter is the Indie game that we needed this year after a good amount of just plain old disappointing entries in the Indie scene. It's not perfect, but you WILL remember it if you play it, and if you can get past the difficulty, it'll be one of the most enjoyable experiences you play all year.
Hyper Light Drifter fuses old-school combat and attentive world design with unique sensitivity. Its world owes almost entirely to the SNES era, but this game is a tale of individual intelligence - even though it's never really told.
Every now and again a game is more than the sum of its parts; Hyper Light Drifter is a game that is precisely the sum of its parts. Taking inspiration from the very best, Preston and his team at Heart Machine have delivered an experience that shines. Occasionally obscured by the lack of a coherent visual language, the game relies on your willingness to invest a little bit of your head, your heart, and your guts and bravado. Given how good Hyper Light Drifter is, I don't think you'll find that very hard.
The Nintendo Switch version of Hyper Light Drifter is far from perfect, but that doesn't make it's world less beautiful or the combat lees vibrant. Due to the mysterious storytelling and difficult challenges It's not a game for everyone, making it one of those "either you love it or hate it"... And we definitely belong to the first group.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
A mysterious obtuse premise and frustrating-at-times combat both hinder and bolster the appeal of Hyper Light Drifter. It's not the successor of Zelda but it's still an incredibly well-designed, beautiful action adventure title.
A perfect example of learning by playing - Hyper Light Drifter offers a unique experience of exploration and discovery in a beautiful world with a well paced challenge, even if you still have no idea what's going on by the end.
Out of the void, Hyper Light Drifter meticulously crafts a post-apocalyptic samurai story, one that bends and folds the tenets of zen's vivid ambience alongside the warrior path of bushido, something familiar yet fresh, quiet yet resonant.
As soon as I am given the reins I am instantly amazed by the beautiful pixel art and the character animations are gorgeous. The movement is fluid and combat move animations just flow so well.
While the story and graphics didn't strike me in the right way, the gameplay and challenge were fantastic. It's hard to make a comparison with this game, but that is due to its uniqueness and style.
[Hyper Light Drifter] imaginatively exudes...personal ruminations on loneliness, pain, and temporality across its story, visuals, and audio. However, silver linings of beauty and perseverance can be found between the dark lines of its thematic consistency. Further substance comes from its full world that will quicken your heart rate with its hyper combat or lower it with calming treks and views that captivate. This is an adventure that may feel too safe and even aimless for differing reasons, but you'll never want to lose sight of the light on the horizon that compels you to keep wandering…drifting onward.
Hyper Light Drifter's a tough game and for that, it won't be for everyone. But if it already has your interest, your admiration, or your love, then it has – all hyperbole aside – found a perfect home on the Nintendo Switch.
Hyper Light Drifter is a gorgeous, trendy hunk of stylish old-school sensibilities mated with the iconic hues of pixelated indie charm. It's a return to simpler control schemes, building on sound mechanical fundamentals rather than trying to wow with new ways of interaction within each and every checkpoint. Though its wordless storytelling took some of the thrill out of completing the campaign, Hyper Light Drifter is a joy to play, (and replay in the new game plus mode) its mechanical excellence and stylish veneer.
Hyper Light Drifter undoubtedly stands tall amongst its competition, as not only one of the best retro-inspired indie games to date, but simply one of the better overall indie games I've had the pleasure of playing.
Hyper Light Drifter shows a lot of potential thanks to its great combat and solid world building. Where it falls flat is its miserable starting area, boring exploration and inconsequential plot.
I can see why some people like 'Hyper Light Drifter'. Its combination of nostalgia, pretty pixels, and cruel gameplay are an intoxicating drug to some. I'm not one of those people, unfortunately. As I played I felt like the annoying moviegoing companion, always asking for an explanation of events onscreen from fellow viewers also watching for the first time, equally mystified.