Skip to main content

Hyper Light Breaker is a colorful mix between Risk of Rain and Dark Souls

An enemy in Hyper Light Breaker.
Gearbox

One thing I’ve always appreciated about gaming is the iterative nature of the industry. When one game cracks a good idea, it tends to trickle down to others in creative ways. There’s a sense that developers are always in conversation with one another, riffing off of each other’s ideas in search of something that feels truly fresh.

That idea is on display all over this year’s Game Developers Conference, but it’s especially apparent in Hyper Light Breaker. The upcoming title from Heart Machine, which I demoed at this year’s GDC, pulls clear inspiration from several games, touching on everything from Risk of Rain to Dark Souls. It sounds like a hodge-podge of ideas on paper, but every design inspiration comes together to form something distinct: a neon-soaked action game that neatly fits in the same lineage as Hyper Light Drifter and Solar Ash.

Traversal in Hyper Light Breaker
Gearbox

My demo would throw me in the thick of Hyper Light Breaker with little setup. After trotting around a quick hub and creating a loadout for my Breaker, I’d quickly get the flow of the run-based game. The 100-story elevator pitch is that it’s a co-op action RPG roguelike with Dark Souls-inspired combat and extraction shooter hooks. But thankfully, it’s a lot easier to grasp than that sounds.

Each time I started a new run, I was dropped into a colorful biome called the Overgrowth, which is not too far off from Solar Ash’s art style. I could freely explore as I looked for loot, which I’d have to successfully extract to keep, but I had a clear goal: kill three sub-bosses to open the door to the level’s big bad. It sounds straightforward enough, but I’d quickly learn that Hyper Light Breaker is no pushover.

At first, my demo was deceptively breezy. The world was a vibrant playground for me to explore, using a hoverboard and Zelda-like glider to traverse. Some simple enemies would get me up to speed with the basics of slashing, shooting, and using a handful of abilities. I’d tinker with a few different loadouts during my session; one would give me a deadly whirling slash, while another had a skill granting me infinite ammo for a short window. I felt confident in my first run as I popped open chests and stocked up on loot.

I was too cocky.

A boss in Hyper Light Breaker.
Gearbox

As a much bigger enemy wiped the floor with me, I’d start to see the secret FromSoftware influence hiding underneath the waves of neon. In order to take out tougher bosses, I’d need to carefully read their attack patterns, evade, and parry just as I would in a Dark Souls game. I’d see the full extent of that when I got to the big boss of one run. Suddenly, I was avoiding aggressive attacks from an oversized monster, jumping over damaging circle waves while parrying wild swings from its body. It was a hectic encounter – one that I stood no hope of winning on the fly during a convention demo.

While I’d only get a small taste of the game with a few failed runs, I can already see how all of Heart Machine’s wide range of inspirations – which also includes Genshin Impact and Zenless Zone Zero – will likely blend together in the full release. The slice I played has real potential as a future co-op staple that scratches the same itch as Risk of Rain. When you combine that foundation with some Soulslike challenge and Heart Machine’s signature art style, you wind up with a colorful, mysterious little action game that’s sure to turn heads when it hits early access.

Editors' Recommendations

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
The most common Xbox Series S problems and how to fix them
Xbox Series S placed on a white table with the controller just in front of it

There haven't been many complaints about Xbox Series S since it launched in 2020. Serving as the more affordable sibling of the premium Xbox Series X, it plays all the same games yet works at a lower resolution – allowing it to carry a nice price tag of $250. Users have reported a few common issues with Xbox Series S over the years, however, which run the gamut from Quick Resume crashing to HDMI-CEC not registering a connection.

Running into problems with your Xbox Series S? Here's a look at the eight most common Xbox Series S problems, along with how to fix them. If you can't fix the problem on your own, things might be more serious than expected. In that case, be sure to contact Microsoft for advanced troubleshooting or to get your console replaced.
Get in touch with Microsoft
Microsoft offers several support routes, so if you don't find a solution in this guide, make sure to reach out. If you encounter an Xbox Series S problem that needs our attention, make sure to tag us on X @DigitalTrends (loop in @XboxSupport, too). Otherwise, you can contact Microsoft using the options below.

Read more
The most common PSVR 2 problems and how to fix them
A PSVR2 headset on a sky-blue background.

The hype around PSVR 2 has largely died off just a year after its launch, though there's no denying it’s a cool piece of tech. Making big strides from the original PSVR, the latest headset from Sony offers better graphics, improved tracking capabilities, and introduced the world to the sleek new Sense controllers, which make it easier than ever to interact with your virtual world.

But, like all new pieces of tech, PSVR 2 isn't without its issues. From faulty Sense controllers to blurry images, here's a look at the most common PSVR 2 issues and how to fix them. Many of these steps will also work with PSVR, though note the menu navigation might be slightly different.
Your Sense controller isn't working properly

Read more
Weekend deal: Save $350 on this Alienware gaming PC with RTX 4070
Alienware Aurora R16 sitting on a desk.

The Alienware brand is Dell’s dive into the gaming world, and Dell is coming up big today when it comes to gaming PC deals. The super popular Alienware Aurora R16 gaming desktop with some serious specs is currently discounted at Dell. It’s marked down from $2,050 to $1,700 and amounts to $350 in savings. This is one of the better Alienware deals you’ll find today and we don’t know how long it will last, so click over to Dell to claim the savings while yo can.

Why you should buy the Alienware Aurora R16 gaming desktop
There are a lot of great options when trying to ensure you’re getting one of the best gaming PCs, and with Alienware you know you’ll be getting something you can take seriously. The Alienware Aurora R16 is a gaming desktop that offers ultimate expansion and customization options, and it’s where a lot of gamers turn when they’re looking to take on the best PC games. As built for this deal the Aurora R16 has 32GB of RAM and an Intel i9 processor with 24 cores. This is a lot of power even by gaming standards, and the powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card with 12GB of its own RAM is part of the package as well.

Read more