As I said in my Solar Ash review, Heart Machine's melancholic open-world platformer ended up being one of my favorite games of 2021, so you can imagine how delighted I was to see the studio making an open-world successor to the 2016 classic Hyper Light Drifter. That brings us to the first gameplay trailer for Hyper Light Breaker, already my most-anticipated open-world game, which has absolutely made my day.
Hyper Light Breaker is a 3D open-world rogue-lite which is technically set in the Hyper Light universe but doesn't act as a direct sequel to Drifter. You'll explore the sprawling biomes of the Overgrowth alone or with friends through online co-op, hoverboarding, slashing, and gliding through the landscape as one of several playable characters. Solar Ash had sublime movement systems, so I'm eager to get a feel for these. As you go, you'll meet new NPCs and progress "their unique, evolving stories." Likewise, "your accomplishments will introduce new colorful characters and permanent upgrades to the hub," per the game's Steam page (opens in new tab).
Today's gameplay trailer is fairly combat-focused, with scattered enemy encampments and more dramatic boss fights stopping our explorers in their tracks. In addition to "infinite open worlds" – by way of rogue-lite procedural generation – Heart Machine promises "endless loadouts", which seem to include guns, hammers, claws, swords, and some manner of magic. We'll be scavenging for new weapons and items as we explore to "create the perfect build for every run," reinforcing the game's rogue-lite nature.
Thankfully, we've also got "unlimited deaths" to spend in Hyper Light Breaker's arena-style boss fights, which have a whiff of Returnal or perhaps Nier about them in the way they weave in bullet hell attacks.
Hyper Light Breaker is jam-packed with stuff I love – rogue-lite progression, co-op, freeform movement, big ol' hammers – plus it looks and sounds incredible, and it comes from one of my favorite studios. Heart Machine hasn't missed yet, and Hyper Light Breaker has only moved up my list of must-try games after this trailer. It'll launch in early access on Steam sometime this fall.
Here's an expanded new games 2023 guide to help fill out your wishlist.