May 17, 2022

Hyper Light Drifter – Special Collectors Edition Nintendo Switch Review

Heart Machine’s 2016 classic, Hyper Light Drifter gets another physical outing and we take a look at all the goodies in this special edition.

Let’s be clear here; we are big physical collectors. We get that digital is convenient. For the budget-conscious amongst you, digital sales are also regular and can give you some real bargains. Still, there is nothing like expressing your love for a game then proudly having it on your shelf.

This isn’t possible for many independent studios, given the cost to manufacture, distribute, and market a physical game. This is a real shame because there is something special about having a copy in your hand. Over the last generation, a lot of our favourite games have been indie releases and, therefore, sadly, lacking in the physical department. A shame we know all too well.

This is where companies like Limited Run Games and Special Reserve Games come in. They have sprung up to fill that gap – doing licensing deals for literally limited production runs on games that wouldn’t otherwise see a physical release. In this way, some classic games such as Hotline Miami, Enter the Gungeon, Celeste, and Oxenfree have received a physical release. Which is great.

Limited Edition means hard to find…

Except for price and availability. You see, for presumably good reasons, the runs are limited, meaning they sell out within seconds and are often really expensive. This is especially true if shipping to another country. If you want a “Collector’s Edition”, you can be looking in excess of £100 plus postage costs.

Heart Machine's 2016 classic gets another physical outing and we take a look at all the goodies in this special edition.

It makes this sort of game collecting an expensive business and hard to participate in. This has meant that several games we have in our collections have slipped through our grasp because we just can’t justify the outlay.

Enter the Special Edition version of Hyper Light Drifter for Nintendo Switch, courtesy of Abylight Studios. Abylight is a Spanish publisher that has the rights to distribute a bundle of Heart Machine‘s 2016 classic.

Firstly, the game is amazing (more on that later), and has been top of our “wanted in physical form” list for several years. To be clear, this isn’t the first version of the game put out in a physical edition. There is a version available in East Asian markets. And iam8bit also put a physical version out a few years ago. Both are hard to get hold of at a reasonable price.

My, That’s A Nice Package

This release was fairly attractive to us when we first saw it on social media. Firstly, the initial pre-order run was set to 5,000 copies, which is standard, but was (and remains) readily available for ordering. It is also rather reasonable, retailing at 49.95 Euros + postage (for Europe) and $59.99 in the US (via partner Limited Run Games). On top of that, Hyper Light Drifter – Special Edition for Nintendo Switch comes with a fair few goodies, including;

  • A physical cartridge with reversible art cover
  • Key Chain
  • Poster
  • Full Manual (whatever happened to those? We miss them)
  • Lenticular Card
  • Sticker
  • Double CD Soundtrack.

So, after a pre-order made in November, we finally got our copy this week – shipped in January we should add, but caught in all the pandemic/Brexit malarkey. Was it worth it?

In a word – yes, yes, and yes. Ok, three words. It is clearly made for the fans. Which is what Collectors Editions are for.

You see, as stated earlier, Hyper Light Drifter is a great game. We won’t do a full review, but it is a top-down run, slash and shoot masterpiece. Playing as the titular Drifter, you enter a beautifully rendered pixel-art dystopian world as you attempt to free it from some sort of abomination. The story is told via environmental storytelling as opposed to any form of narration, with rich lore and stunning vistas. The combat is tough, aggressive, and precise. Boss fights are memorable and the soundtrack… well, the soundtrack from Disasterpeace (the talent behind Fez & the creepy It Follows movie) is up there with some of the most otherworldly and evocative game scores ever made.

Why We Like It

It’s a game we have come back to time and time again, such is its replayability. This package honours the game with some high-quality additions. Firstly, the main attraction, apart from the physical game, is the soundtrack. Coming in a two-disc set, you get the glorious OST in a lovely card and case, with some great artwork. The poster features one of the most iconic images from the game, and the Card, Sticker, and Keychain are all tied into the lore of the game nicely. Nothing seems tacky. This, and the physical game, are all held in a smart cardboard package that sits nicely next to our other Switch games.

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So, we are clearly big fans, but why has this got us so excited? Well, because getting quality and affordable physical releases of indie games can be hard, if not impossible, to find for those with stretched resources. This release seems to be part of a trend of indie releases that are becoming easier to source; late 2020 also saw some Switch releases of games like Cadence of Hyrule and Sayonara Wild Hearts on Switch.

We hope that these releases sell well and encourage other publishers, like Abylight Studios, to do more to bring quality physical releases to the masses, as opposed to dedicated collectors. If you are a fan, this is a sweet little package!

  • Note that this copy was purchased by the reviewer and not associated with the publisher in any way.

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Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

A modern classic in a neat little package!
  • 9/10
    Score - 9/10
9/10

Summary

A classic indie game gets an affordable and quite generous special edition.

  • Great game
  • Double CD soundtrack
  • Good pricing
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