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Summer Game Fest Preview: Hyper Light Breaker

by Alex Orona - June 26, 2024, 11:47 am EDT
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Hyper Light Breaker takes the series in a new rogue like multiplayer direction

Hyper Light Breaker was being demoed at Summer Game Fest, and I was given the opportunity to play it. I was a giant fan of Hyper Light Drifter and had some experience with Solar Ash, so I was excited for the opportunity to jump into their Early Access prequel. The change in style, progression, and general direction was quite a pleasant surprise after some hands-on time with it.

Starting from the beginning, Hyper Light Drifter was a blend of old school NES Zelda with some soulslike elements and a deep and mysterious lore that was as hard to decipher as the in-universe language. It established a cult following that was excitedly followed up by its 3D explorative follow-up, Solar Ash. Now with Hyper Light Breaker, a prequel to Drifter, they are taking bits and pieces of other games to create a unique boss rush multiplayer experience.

The game begins with picking varying classes that come with specialty weapons and modifications. Then the game opens up to a big map with lots to explore including loot caches, challenge towers and mini bosses. Tackling the mini bosses will unlock keys to the map boss. You have three lives to grind out gear and mods, level up, and take out the mini-bosses.

These three lives are all you have to complete a map, and once those lives are done, the map completely resets and so does your character. You can always return back to the hub to spend your currency on permanent upgrades, but for the most part it’s all about that grind. Breaker also has a drop in-drop out multiplayer that will allow you and your friends to work together towards completing the maps and eventually get to the final boss. It just has to be within those three lives.

Movement is impressively fluid, with a light attack, strong attack, and then abilities on cooldown. There’s also a hoverboard for quick movement across the map. Once I was in game, the movement and combat really clicked. I was able to mark the map and explore different points of interest for loot and enemies. I can imagine how chaotic this game could get when you have a full squad, especially since there’s a chaos timer that will up the difficulty the longer you stay on a map (similar to Risk of Rain). That’s exactly the feeling Hyper Light Breaker gave me once all was said and done: a more complex version of Risk of Rain, but with the brilliantly colorful world that only the devs at Heart Machine can provide.

Hyper Light Breaker will be coming to Steam Early Access first in 2024, but it’s unknown where it will land as far as consoles go in the future. Heart Machine does have a history of putting their games on Nintendo Switch with both Hyper Light Drifter and Solar Ash appearing on the console, so only time will tell.

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