gollum. no, not that one.

Under the Radar: Hyper Light Drifter – Intense, Passionate Insanity

Yesterday, I spent an obscene amount of time reminiscing about Bastion whilst listening to the soundtrack.  A friend of mine had let me play it on his computer and I had firmly planted my rear in a seat to devour the highly touted game by Supergiant Games.  But I was not simply hungering for another taste of the memorable sound design and narrator, the engaging combat, or the soft and cloudy artwork: it was the pitch-perfect combination of those aspects.  If I weren’t battling insomnia at about 4 AM in the morning, I might have bought it for myself.  But it seems that Hyper Light Drifter, a project from Heart Machine, wants to swoop in from the distant horizon to make me forget all about ol’ what’sitsname (just kidding Bastion; I’ll always remember you).

hyper light drifter campsite

It’s a different kind of pretty.

In the world of Hyper Light Drifter, “Drifters” are not just homeless vagrants that one thinks of with the barest tint of condescension.  They are collectors of knowledge and technology lost after their world went to hell.  Our protagonist is pushed along by more than just duty, though, he is being ravaged by a disease and I assume he is hoping to find a cure somewhere in the fusty tomes of forgotten time.  Even the wording used on the Hyper Light Drifter’s page excites me.  Just listen:

Visions for this game have been fluttering in my skull for ages; something dark and fantastic, with giant forests to navigate, huge floating structures to explore, deep crumbling ruins to loot, massive throngs of enemies to rend, and behemoths both flesh and mechanical to overcome. I want it all to be as beautiful as possible, forging color with the dark and eerie wastes and intimidating landscapes.[…]Miyazaki films have taught me that beautiful animation and design add life to a world. From characters to background elements, everything is lovingly crafted while I hum show-tunes and squint suspiciously at the flickering pixels until they perform as intended.

Words like these speak of passion to me!  Or insanity.  Or both: intense, passionate insanity!  The strongest items are forged from the brightest flame and Heart Machine’s passion is burning bright through the pages of Hyper Light Drifter.  And if those words weren’t enough for you, here are another thousand.

hyper lighty wall majigger

Get it? “A picture is worth”…nevermind.

Hyper Light Drifter is, like Bastion, a 2D action RPG with a wide array of weapons to wield while wandering the world after that unexplained apocalyptic event.  But it is there that the more obvious similarities die.  While it would not be fair to say that Bastion had slow or plodding combat, there was a certain halt after every hit that positively reinforced the feeling of weight.  Even from the short trailer, Hyper Light Drifter seems to be just a touch faster paced, as well as reaching for an impressive sense of scale that I hope comes off as well as it is intended to.
[one_third_last][box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]“Hyper Light Drfiter”
Developed by: Heart Machine
Genre: 2D action-RPG
Release: mid 2014[/box] [/one_third_last]

I did not feel the need to put emphasis on Hyper Light Drifter being a Kickstarter project because it reached its funding goal remarkably quick.  The onus of patronization as a fan of gaming is all but non-existent here.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a look at the what Heart Machine has unveiled so far and see if you are interested.  With so many games being released at any point in time, more games sink than stay afloat.  Even the ones that deserve the chance.  It’d be a shame for this one in particular to go Under the Radar for much longer.

If you have a game or project that you would like to see spotlighted, send a message to “under[.]the[.][email protected][.].com” without the brackets.