Hyper Light Drifter

It’s been about 2
weeks since I played Hyper Light Drifter, and I’m still struggling
to put my thoughts down in a write-up. Time to just bite the bullet
and do what I can, but the problem is there’s just so little to
actually talk about.

Well, lets get the
obvious out of the way; it’s very pretty. Hyper Light Drifter is a
pixel-art Zelda-like, but before you start booing and jeering and
pissing, you need to consider the context; HLD was one of the first of
its kind, releasing far before the boom of such games. It’s not
fair to judge it for being one among an endless deluge of the same
thing when it was the first drop to drip.

It is, however, fair
to judge it for being absolutely devoid of substance. Alright,
minimalism is cool when used well, I am fully on board with that
concept. But HLD goes beyond minimalism- a whole bunch of stuff
happens in a tremendously long opening cutscene which tells us
nothing at all but features a lot of cool stuff that probably would
have been fun to actually play through, and then we are thrust into
the action.

The HUD implies we need to collect triangles to
make a square, which will then do something, or maybe it won’t? You
see, HLD’s ‘thing’ is that it tells its story without words.
That is awesome when done well in a story which can be told this way.
Here, it falls completely flat and I just have no idea what I’m
doing or why.

Which means we get
to make it up ourselves! Our protagonist, Tom Cruise, is the Hyper
Light Drifter- which either means he drifts on hyper-light, or he is
a light drifter who had too many Red Bulls, or he is a drifter who
weighs very very little. The triangles are fragments of the megaverse,
and collecting them all will make him Supreme Overlord Of All
Hyperlight
. It’s a game where you play as the bad guy. Whatever.

Fin or Bin:

I just can’t help
but feel I’m missing something. It’s very pretty and seems well
executed, tremendously slippery camera notwithstanding, but after the
hour I tried to think of how I felt about my time in the Tom
Cruinverse and I realised I felt absolutely nothing about this game
at all
. Now, part of that’ll be the depression, but really- HLD
didn’t give me a single thing to acutally care about the entire
time. A whole bunch of stuff happens and then off you trot. The real
kicker, the cheeky icing on the cake, is it has the temerity to give basic
combat tutorials in fully written english, thus defeating its own
presentation from the first moment.

But still, that
feeling of missing something persists, and so into the Recycle Bin it
goes, ready to be given another chance when I have the time to
really, really get worked up into a lather about Tom Cruise. Watch
the first hour here!

(Steam)

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