Hyper Light Drifter: An Homage to the Classics

“Hyper Light Drifter” hit our radar during its wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, and we’re really excited to finally get a chance to play with it.

The premise of this ID@Xbox project is interesting: As a citizen of a world of forgotten technology, the Drifter has access to long-lost tools, giving him powers beyond the scope of the normal inhabitants. Searching for a cure to a disease he finds himself suffering from, the Drifter travels through ancient civilizations and ruins, fighting everyone that tries to stop him. The gameplay can be described as lying somewhere between “The Legend of Zelda” and “Diablo,” while the art style is reminiscent of “Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery” combined with a Studio Ghibli film. It’s definitely an homage to old-school gaming, while still being very modern and unique.

Our demo pitted two Drifters against an endless army of spawning enemies. With a set number of health pickups, we battled until the bitter end, and got to try out the assortment of special attacks and weapons in the game. Laser cannons and huge shuriken-esque projectiles are just two of the ways your Drifter can fend off enemies. Most of the time, though, you’ll probably use your energy sword to slice and dice the increasingly more hostile wildlife and people.

Our time with “Hyper Light Drifter” was satisfyingly difficult. Those four health packs go fast, and as more and more enemies come in from the sides of the screen it becomes difficult to not get overwhelmed – until you unleash a special attack and take out half the mob. You’ll see more challenges like this when the game releases later this year.