Tag Archives: Heart Machine

Hyper Light Drifter and the Stuckness of Exploration

It’s the damn keys. That’s the current suspicion anyway. I’ve hit a wall, finding at least four monoliths per corner of the map, six tops. The map isn’t helping much either, to the East I see nothing lit up but I’m still missing pieces. In the North I found one I haven’t tapped yet but I can’t get to it, only stare and try to lay the underground complex out in my mind to trace my steps back to see what I missed. After too long to tell, I headed West to find the last two I see on the map.

But the keys. I see these doors that need soo many keys, and I have three, and who knows where the others are. The doors I’m hoping lead to items, I’ve started finding sets, but again, only three so far. After so many fights these pieces of gear really make a difference. The combat is fluid enough that I’ve started considering tactics and timing. It’s all very Assassin’s Creed the way you move through enemies. There’s only the boss to the South marked on my map that I can’t get to, the keys have been my distraction, I thought I would have found more by now.


Hyper Light Drifter Keys

#Hyperlightdrifter . . . So excited to find this fourth key after 30 hours.


This is something I’ve grown accustomed to playing certain games. I like to put a fair amount of time in before I look anything up at all, at least 20 hours. After that I am still reluctant, who knows how many hours I’ve spent sitting in front of Zelda 1, still haven’t looked anything up, still haven’t beat it. Terraria has gone the same way, I recognize it as a game wherein the player is dropped into a wilderness, so I treat it like that and experiment and explore. By the time I get enough hours in that I am “ok” to look things up I don’t want to. 30 hours into Hyper Light and the little I have  searched is likely all I ever will until I finish it. I’d like to think this is what Heart Machine wants, me to take my patient time with it.

There is a situation that defines a concern for me though, when I found the rifle. It’s an upgrade I understand, and I’ve come to like using it. Before that though I had really fallen in love with the handgun, stringing together shots and sword strikes in a continuous barrage, strung from enemy to enemy in a chain of dashes. It was a blast balancing shots and strikes. Until I traded my handgun for the rifle,  I wanted the rifle, just not the shotgun, which I also had with me as I felt it balanced the handgun out as an arsenal. If I’d known I could only carry two ranged weapons I wouldn’t have dropped the handgun that I’d paid for upgrades for. By the time I realized what I’d done it was too late. I went back to the source of my confusion and there was no gun. I don’t know how to get it back.

That’s where I have a problem with the complexity such vague interactions cause. Hell I may still have it and just not know how to equip it. How would I know?

For the time spent I consider that a minor complaint, but its something that sticks in my mind. I’m still digging at it. The game begs for understanding. My character is sick, for example, and I don’t know why and I want to know if I’m searching for a fix. There seems to be a war machine in the making, an army of sorts, and I want to know more about that, and the ruins, and the tablets, and the gear I’ve yet to find, and all the stories NPC’s have told me in pictures. Combined with boss fights I love, I’m excited to play through the NG+, but answers first…

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Hyper Light Drifter

It was the look of it that had me clicking on it as it came across my discovery que. I could tell it was pixel, but there was something about it that reminded me of watercolor. Hyper Light Drifter, after the first hour the watercolor of it is all I thought it would be, but the environment takes some getting used to to know where you can slip by or not. The look of everything is so abstract its difficult to tell whats what. But Heart Machine did right by anyone that played action RPG’s in the 90’s and still wants more

Hyper Light Drifter First Impressions

Hyper Light Drifter is stunning. If you were a kid with a SNES you’ll feel at home in front of the screen.

The animations are super fluid, complimenting the tone of the game, the music, the enemies. Its challenging without being overwhelming up front, though not long into it you will have to fight a barrage of enemies you’ve already faced so get comfortable with the controls early. I died the first time I found it but some of the enemies are hidden and come on quick.

As far as mechanics go, watching the video on Steam I saw that there was something unique going on. Playing the new abilities takes some getting used to but the dash is easy to manipulate. There is a timing to the sword attacks in conjunction with the dash, but when you get it down with the enemies attacks its easy enough to negotiate. I’m reminded of Monster Hunter, the way the player character and enemies seem to turn and set before they attack, though the movements aren’t as pronounced. The truer inspiration manifests more as a reiterated Ocarina of Time fight system.

Reading the game as an RPG I’m open minded toward the world building. Things are weird, easily, but it isn’t something I’m not confident I’ll be able to catch onto. There is no speech; characters you meet speak in grunts and picture stories. What I thought were shops I’m not sure now what they are, there are people inhabiting the spaces and the buildings are associated with weapons and such that you will have picked up, there are signs, but I don’t quite understand if they are teaching you how to use the item or what really. I can see that things will start making sense as I find more items, but the devs expect a lot of patience out of us. The game is sold as an RPG though, so that is part of the package.

I’m digging in for sure. Nothing so far has taken me out of it and I’ll be making sense of things soon.

More to come…


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