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Short Hylics Review

If you're in to art games or play a lot of RPGMaker games, you've probably heard of Hylics, and you'd certainly remember if you'd seen the art. It's a surrealist little RPG created by artist Mason Lindroth using a lot of photographed clay figures and randomly generated text. I picked it up some time ago because I became immediately interested after seeing the art style, and was happy to find it's very reasonably priced on Steam.

screenshot from Hylics, inside a tent
As far as gameplay goes, the game is short and forgiving, and if you've played any RPG, you'll be familiar with what you're doing pretty quickly. Nearly all the dialogue except the most essential is randomly-generated gibberish, and even some of the place names will be random for each of your saved files. But since the gameplay loop follows a familiar pattern, you don't really need much dialogue to follow along. You'll collect team members and spells, and encounter different nonsensical enemies. The most fun of the battles, I think, is watching the animations on all of the spells, which show up on the screen as little tubes of clay arranged into different glyph-like shapes.

screenshot from Hylics, in a tower

Because let's be real, the best part of the game is its art. I find it very reminiscent of the old Mac games I used to play growing up, especially the ones by Myst-makers Cyan Inc., like Spelunx and Cosmic Osmo. That's because its maker put it together by using his clay sculptures, which he's known for, and then editing them in Photoshop to reduce their colors.

screenshot from Hylics, the graveyard

He uses a pastel and yellow-heavy palette that I find to be very distinctive, and it reminds me a lot of the artwork of Jean Giraud, also known as Moebius. I think my biggest disappointment about the game is that for some reason it breaks the Steam overlay, so I was forced to take screenshots using other programs, resulting in far fewer than wanted.

the map screen

The music for the game is also a one-man project, and fits well with the absurdity on screen. It's composed of minimal, frequently atonal electric guitar riffs and electronic keyboard tunes. There are almost no drums, and it fits the avant-garde nature of the game really well. I wish it had been released on its own so I could carry it around (yes, I'm one of THOSE people), but it's available on YouTube for everyone else. You can also find it in the game's files, but you'll need to input the meta data yourself.

Battle screen

First level

Overall Impressions: Very short, and I wish it were a bit longer. However this is reflected in the price, so I'm not complaining too much. Art is amazing, and I love the surrealist absurdity of it all. 8/10

Time to complete: I spent several hours on it, but most people can complete it in two. If you've got a free afternoon, you could probably 100% everything at once.

You'll like this if you like: Art games, Surrealism, retro graphics, simple easy RPGs.

Another battle screen

You can find Hylics on Steam or buy it via


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