Hyper Light Drifter is a stylistic indie action RPG developed by Heart Machine. The gameplay is a mashup of 8-bit and 16-bit action role playing games mechanics similar in style to Zelda games.
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Pro Fantastic pixel graphics
While pixel graphics have seen a revival of late being that they are cheap to make, which lends itself well to the indie scene, Hyper Light Drifter is a step above any of the best offered in this style before. Everything is hand drawn and beautifully detailed. The color pallets used stand out on just their own, as the backgrounds are all quite detailed, with different color choices being used in order to differentiate each area. All the animations in the game are pretty detailed too, even for pixel graphics. T
Pro Dynamic dungeons
The layout of each dungeon will change dynamically as you kill enemies contained within. So walls will move or disappear, making for a new path, depending on who you have killed. This makes for an enthralling experience that constantly asks the player to shift their strategy, making for gameplay that does not get stale.
Pro Great sound
The game actually has no dialog, meaning that the music and sound effects emote what the player should be feeling. Luckily they do their job and then some, the music is easy to listen to and works with the game well, same with the sound effects. Everything feels as though it belongs, which is quite an accomplishments due to how stylized the game is.
Pro Tells the story through pictures
With no dialog in the game (including text), the game is told through the use of pictures. When talking to an NPC, they will tell their story through a series of pictures. This goes for all interaction in the game. Which is an interesting way to go about telling a story and is pretty unique. Luckily the game tells its story successfully through this method, making for an enjoyable story overall.
Pro Level design full of choices
Much like older Zelda games, there are different paths that can be taken in each level, there are hidden areas as well. This allows for a good bit of exploration in the game, giving a sense that you are the one exploring and discovering this world.
Pro Good combat
The combat in the game is action based in real time. Each enemy has a different attack pattern that can be learned meaning that with time the player knows when and where to hit an enemy. While the combat can be tough at time when multiple enemies are on screen, the challenge can be worth it for the enjoyment of accomplishment.
Con Gameplay can be tough
The game can get difficult, causing a good deal of frustration due to the difficulty of enemies in the game. While no impossible, many may feel it is too tough in the later portion of the game.
Con Can be difficult to figure out what to do
With no dialog it can be difficult to figure out what to do and where to go. There is no hand holding here, which is a bit of a throwback to games back in the 90s, but still can be frustrating when stuck and having no idea what to do next. This can be exacerbated by the fact that certain basses need you to be equipped with a certain upgrade in order to defeat them. Since there is no explanation of what this upgrade is, it can easily be missed leaving the player dying over and over again at the hands of certain bosses.