PAX East 2014: First Impressions – Hyper Light Drifter (Wii U)

Hyper Light Drifter is another game that’s coming to us courtesy of some Kickstarter success—Heart Machine ran a campaign that raise over 20 times their goal, hitting all but the craziest stretch goal. That’s pretty darn amazing. The fan reaction for the game has been nothing short of overwhelmingly positive, which is why the Nintendo Fire team was excited to take a look at the game at PAX East.

The game follows the trend we’ve seen these days of returning to a pixilated graphics style, done in a way that’s visually stunning and bucks the concept of “simplistic” graphics that have no aesthetic appeal. Hyper Light Drifter takes its pixel art to new levels with bright colors and high levels of detail.

Setting plays an enormous role in the game, and while you may not necessarily understand the “whys” of the world’s environments (or at least, that’s where we were at in the demo—presumably you’ll get more in the full game), there’s plenty of exploration for players that’s made all the more exciting by the dash ability. Players are able to move across pits, leap onto floating platforms, and moves you faster through regular terrain. Plus, your character has a cool cape that flows behind him when you dash. Win-win, yes?

Dashing doesn’t necessarily make the game easier, however. While it can be used in combat, the fighting is fast and furious. The dash means you can get away faster, but once you have multiple enemies on-screen and environmental dangers (ie. pillars firing bullets at you), well… survival becomes significantly more complex. Players can use melee capabilities (sword! Yeah!) or throw an item like a boomerang for a ranged attack—but regardless of what you’re using, it’s not as easy as you might expect to stay alive. In fact, we might venture to say that if you’re the kind of person who gets frustrated by dying a lot in a game… this might not be the right game for you.

In the multiplayer mode, there are other weapons (ie. high powered rifle, landmines) and the game becomes co-op. It gets even more difficult the more people you have playing together, so make sure you’re ready for the challenge before pressing play.

Overall, it’s a game for players who enjoy a real challenge, and who enjoy the post-apocalyptic / ruined wasteland style of visual environment. The story is a bit odd, but again, it’s hard to get a real handle on a story like this in just a demo. There’s no text to drive you, relying more on you picking up visual and audio cues—so maybe have a few coffees before you dive into this one.

Hyper Light Drifter looks to be everything the Kickstarter showed us it would be, which is good news. There’s no specific release date as of yet, but will be out on just about every major platform (including Wii U) sometime in the near future.



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Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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