PAX 2015: Hands-On Hyper Light Drifter


I had seen screenshots of this game quite a bit for a long time, and from the very first time I saw the different screens, I was intrigued. Hyper Light Drifter is an action RPG with highly detailed retro-looking graphics.

Probably the closest other game that comes to mind when I saw this game is Legend of Zelda, although this game looks like the swordplay is much more intense. I did notice the little floating creature that accompanies you does have similarities to the fairies that accompany Link in the later 3D Zelda games.

The graphics of this one are just gorgeous. As I mentioned on the PAX podcast, this game looks like a natural progression of the eight or sixteen-bit retro games if they had not progressed into 3D polygons. I can just imagine how my eight or ten-year old self would have drooled over this game if it had come out on the SNES or NES (yet I’m sure the a game wouldn’t really be possible on that hardware).

As you watch the trailer, you’ll notice that each level is carefully handcrafted; even the fireballs that are shot have many levels of animations and changing colors, yet they remain in that eight or sixteen-bit art style.


When I asked about the game’s story, I was told that there is a story and it’s primarily told visually, without any dialog. Also, as for the RPG aspect, you’ll collect new gear and abilities by discovering it within the world. As for the world, it’s not procedurally generated, which is good because that seems to be pretty common of late.

The game itself looked pretty challenging, and I was told that you can get new abilities to help out, but also you can complete the entire game with the regular sword you have at the beginning of the game. I was also told that, similar to Dark Souls, you could even unequip your weapon and complete the game with your bare hands alone.


Hyper Light Drifter is targeting Spring 2016, and is launching first on PC and Mac; then later on PS4 and Xbox One. It was mentioned that Hyper Light Drifter is also targeting PS Vita, but it would be later than the consoles.

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Written by Jason Honaker

Jason Honaker

A software developer for over 15 years, originally from St. Louis, MO and currently living in Seattle, WA. Started gaming in 1979 on the Atari 800 8-bit PC. I play all sorts of games, but am partial to RPGs and 3rd person brawlers and shooters.

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