GAME OF THE YEAR

Hyper Light Drifter

This kaleidoscopic triumph shines on iPad.

Hyper Light Drifter

Explore a mysterious world

VIEW

Dreamlike exploration. Fight-for-your-life survival. This is the captivating rhythm of Hyper Light Drifter, a dazzling, action-packed reimagining of classic 16-bit adventure games.

Hyper Light Drifter never says a word about the dystopian world in which it’s set, but this much you know: a deadly virus has ravaged humanity. As a sword-swinging hero with the uncanny ability to dash across chasms in a pixelated blur, you’re searching for the cure.

Brief, fierce battles with bomb-toting toads, crystal wolves and other fantastical creatures offer a steep challenge. But intuitive, responsive touch controls on iPad make it easy to master a trio of moves: close-up sword strikes, ranged attacks and a zippy teleport. On iPad Pro, the game looks especially striking, running at a smooth 120 frames per second.

We’ve yet to play a game that so satisfyingly alternates between calm and calamity. When you’re not fighting, you’re exploring and it’s in those quieter moments that Hyper Light Drifter reveals its genius. The fun lies less in slashing and shooting than in figuring out the backstory of its dangerous, beautiful world. Clues scattered throughout the landscape – like the titan frozen midclimb on a snowy mountainside – hint at a tumultuous history.

Dialogue, expressed entirely through images, leaves plenty open to interpretation.

Who is the shadowy villain? How did the land fall into chaos? And what’s the deal with the creepy zombie giants?

Hyper Light Drifter offers no explicit answers, just thought-provoking questions. Which makes for a uniquely exhilarating and introspective quest.

    Hyper Light Drifter

    Explore a mysterious world

    VIEW

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