Video Game Review: Hyper Light Drifter

Enter a retro inspired world, where atmosphere, music, and gameplay are king.


Garrett Gage

A gorgeous screenshot of the game.

by Garrett Gage, Staff Writer

With an atmospheric score, engaging but sometimes unfair gameplay, and a mysterious story Hyper Light Drifter gets a 4.5/5 and is highly recommended for anyone with a decent computer and $20 to spare.

Hyper Light Drifter is like a rough diamond. It looks great, but upon closer inspection, you begin to notice the scratches, scuffs, and cracks. But like a rough diamond, it’s positives outweigh the negatives severely.

Describing the plot is tough, the biggest reason being is that it’s never outright said. The Magician is the protagonist who is looking for a cure of his disease that causes him to cough up blood and hallucinate shadowy creatures. It stays cloaked in shadows, only giving the player ideas of what it could be about with non-dialogued cutscenes and conversations with the denizens only using pictures. It gives the world a hint of mystery and while it can be frustrating at times to decipher, it’s mostly engaging.

The gameplay takes notes from both Dark Souls and A Link to the Past. It plays in a top down perspective, but the player is given an upgradable sword, a dash, and a gun that can only be fired by using said sword. With these options, it turns into a symphony of dashes and slashes, ultimately victory and death relying solely on your skills as a player. There are times, however, that it turns into Dark Souls 2. Enemies could fill a screen, making victory frustrating and it’s more so when there’s mainly enemies that could kill the player in two to three hits.

The music may not be hard hitting or catchy on the same vein as other retro inspired games like Shovel Knight, but it’s engrossing in its own way. The music is atmospheric and moody. It heightens the tension when a boss fight flies in, but it also goes into somber sounds when the player is exploring. Definitely one of the best parts of the game and something I have no problems with.

Hyper Light Drifter is something I feel people should experience. At just around $20, and a high chance of it going on sale during a Steam sale, it shouldn’t be overlooked.