Hyper Light Drifter is a zelda-like 16-bit adventure like with attractive pixel art and high amount of content with great presentation and polish.
What first caught my attention is that the game never tells its story or dialogue through text. The only words I've seen in the game were the HUD and Pause screen. Hyper Light Drifter tells the story via pictures, animation and the little you get by exploration. A character in the first city goes about how he became homeless. This was shown as images of how a group of bandits robbed him. I could imagine the world's lore from the tiny bit I see of it.
Look at these landscapes.
The art is very beautiful. Every pixel seems to be drawn with love and care. The backgrounds show a mixture of natural landscapes and technology that the world feels part fantasy and part sci-fi. The character sprites are small but they're surprisingly expressive especially the main character whose sprites has fluid animations for many actions. Like with the games that inspired this one, your imagination fills up the missing spots.
In battle, you can slash enemies with the sword or use your limited ammo gun to attack enemies further away. Health is limited so it's better to avoid attacks whenever possible, it's easier with the dash button. Each enemy has their attack and movement patterns so they're not hard to avoid in one vs. one battles. It's when you have to deal with many of them at once the challenge arises. I found the optimal way to play is to let myself die if I was damaged more than once so the game won't auto-save with me in low health.
Speaking of health, the healing items are scarce. For a while I had to return to the city to restore my health after each fight because I didn't have any. After getting used to battles and reaching a point where I had to battle multiple enemies at once I started to find healing items lying around so I guess I wasn't supposed to be hit in the first few fights and I was just bad at playing.
Outside battle you can interact with people and objects around the world with the interact button, but it doesn't work on everything and you can't talk to all the people. The game gives you an indication when you can interact with something close to you. You have to hold the button with some things like when the healing area to restore full health.
In my "first impression" run, I struggled to figure out how to earn money to buy weapons and healing items. I can see there are shops around and I can see I can upgrade my weapons but without words I still don't know how to do that and if there's some type of currency I may or might not have gotten some of. I have an idea I'd like to test, but must play more to figure it out.
The background music is so fitting to this world. It has dystopian feel to it while still being somehow relaxing. The use of sounds in this game is very good and adds to the immersion.
Overall, at least for my "first impression" run I can say this game had me "immersed in the world." An interesting way of presentation. Fun, challenging battles. A sad world with not without a hope that's enjoyable to explore. A beautiful 16-bit pixel art. I played Hyper Light Drifter only for few hours now but it's setting up to be an enjoyable ride.