TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Hyper Light Drifter’

TouchArcade Rating:

The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…


Hyper Light Drifter

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard great things about a game but never actually experienced it myself because I tend to only play on mobile and Switch. That is again the case with this week’s pick Hyper Light Drifter ($4.99). Now, you may be thinking “Hey! That’s been on Switch for almost a year!" and you would be correct, but to that I would say “Have you SEEN my freaking backlog on Switch??" So yes, this week’s arrival of Hyper Light Drifter on iOS is my first time jumping into this game people have been raving about since its original PC and console release back in 2016, and it is based on the Special Edition release on the Switch which includes a bunch of additional content. Now after more than three years I can finally see what everyone was gushing about. Why the HECK didn’t I play this game sooner!?

Hyper Light Drifter is an action game with some light RPG elements and quite a bit of story. Surprisingly, almost everything about the story is conveyed without any text, but that doesn’t stop the game from creating a super interesting world to explore and characters to interact with. The original concept of the game when Alex Preston of developer Heart Machine envisioned it was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past meets Diablo. You will see those similarities throughout your time with the game, but Hyper Light Drifter always manages to feel like its own unique thing, not simply some homage or mashup. The pixel art and animations are some of the best I’ve seen in any game ever, and the music creates an atmosphere that’s perfect for every situation you’re in. This is a game you will lose yourself in even on the somewhat tiny screen of an iPhone.

I won’t say everything is 100% perfect. The virtual controls can be a bit fiddly when the action gets intense, but if you have an MFi controller handy then you can simply use that. However, then you’re losing out on one of the more surprisingly great features of the iOS port, the haptic feedback, which is used expertly and adds tremendously to the experience. Honestly? You get used to the virtual controls and you’re going to be dying left and right anyway, for me the occasional flub is worth having the awesome haptic feedback and not having to lug a controller around. Touch controls for the win.

Also, to preserve the 16:9 ratio of the original, there are decorative borders on the sides on iPhone X devices and the top and bottom on iPads. I’m hugely sensitive to games that aren’t proper full screen on my iPhone X, but here I stopped noticing within a minute of the game starting. I’d rather have borders than have some weirdly stretched pixels or cropped environments anyway. You can also turn the decrative part and have it just be black borders if you wish, but the bottom line is that even for this border-hating curmudgeon I didn’t find it even the slightest problem in Hyper Light Drifter. Certainly not enough to miss out on playing something of this magnitude.

I could go on and on, and I kind of want to, but we talked a lot about Hyper Light Drifter in our 5 star review earlier this week, so maybe go give that a read and then stop by the thread in our forums for tons more positive impressions.

  • Hyper Light Drifter

    Finally, Heart Machine's award winning slash-'em-up arrives to iOS in the most polished and refined version yet, the Spe…
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