I played Hyper Light Drifter [official site] in November of last year and it was already superb; a tight, topdown action game about slicing apart monsters with dashes and sword combos, and about solving Zelda-like dungeon puzzles to progress deeper into its strange sci-fi environments. It was also clear at the time that the game had changed and improved a lot since Nathan had played it a year before that.
Now another year has nearly passed and you can catch sight of how it’s changed again in the new trailer below, which heralds with “certainty” the game’s release window: spring 2016.
The trailer was released ahead of the game being playable at the Indie Megabooth during this week’s PAX Prime, and comes alongside a lengthy post on the game’s Kickstarter page from developer Alex Preston. It mentions that the game is “nearing content completion,” but that there’s still balancing to be done of its economy and collectables, as well as playtesting, polish and further music production. It also explains why the game has taken this long to create: in short, games are hard to make.
When I played Hyper Light Drifter last year, there was a great deal of nuance and polish already present in its systems. It’s possible to chain together your dash moves so that you move at top speed constantly, and you can use your sword to stun enemies, to cleave mobs as a group, and to deflect bullets. Used in tandem, these moves allow you to maneuver around environments with grace, never taking a hit as you control and destroy the crowd attacking you. It’s a game that, in those early levels at least, you can bumble your way through, but it’s rewarding to practice and become more precise because of how lovely it feels and sounds when you get it right. Hyper Light Drifter has some next level Vlambeeriness.
And the new environments in the trailer above sure look pretty.