Finished Hyper Light Drifter!
I think the best part of the game is its atmosphere and combat. The game contains no text (besides tutorial button prompts) and no spoken dialog. Therefore, the story is largely up to the player to interpret, if they desire. Right from the get-go, you're immediately immersed into the world. The sound design - particularly the soundtrack - draws you in. In moments of quiet - typically exploration - the music is subdued and atmospheric, underscoring your journey in this torn world. As you launch into combat, things pick up a bit... then, when it's boss battle time, additional instrumentation enters - a pumping track gets you energized against a tough foe. The whole soundtrack has a very unsettling feeling, which matches the overall atmosphere of the game. It's a strange world and there's mysterious things afoot. Some kind of corruption is tainting everything...
The gameplay really shines here. The game is a top-down action game - think Link to the Past. Your basic arsenal is an energy sword and guns - lots of guns. You only start with one, but as the game goes on you'll find more (or maybe you won't, they're all optional). My favorite would have to be the railgun - it requires precision accuracy but feels very satisfying to land hits with. Your bread-and-butter sword combination is a triple-tap in quick succession. There are plenty of upgrades to change things up - one of my favorites is the ability to reflect projectiles with your sword. Definitely reminds me of Link to the Past where you'd reflect Agahnim's projects back at him. Finally you've got a dodge/teleport - a quick shift in any direction. It will let you dodge melee attacks or avoid projectiles, but you're not invincible - so you can be hit mid-dash. All together it provides a simple yet great combat system. Easy to learn, but hard to master. You regularly feel like a master swordsman jumping between enemies and slicing them to bits. The game is also quite challenging - I was reminded of the Donkey Kong Country games with regard to the difficulty - wherein those games are all also challenging but the reason behind every failure (death) was very clear. It leads to an eventual choreographed sequence that looks really cool after you pull it all off. The boss fights were especially great - all of them very different - I think they were almost a game in of itself. I regularly looked forward to the next duel with a strong foe. If you don't mind some spoilers, here is one of the early boss fights
- I enjoyed this one a lot (note: I edited out the 10 minutes or so of me not beating the boss...).
The only negative thing I've got to say with the game's mechanics was that if you died after collecting a bunch of items - you'd have to go back and re-collect everything again. I'm talking like upgrade points or keys, that kind of thing. Minor grievance. Actually one other slightly annoying thing was that the map didn't really have any GPS features - so it never showed you precisely
where you were in a given room, which made exploration a little tedious sometimes. I think actually what would fix it is if explored rooms where marked as such - that way I don't end up retreading a lot of ground.
A recommend to anyone who enjoys a game loaded with atmosphere, or top-down style action games. If you liked Link to the Past, you're sure to find a great game here. The soundtrack alone makes it worthwhile in my opinion!