One Upon Light, The winner of two Indie Game of the Year award in 2014, from the SUTD Game Lab. It’s a top down puzzler game with a protagonist that is injured by light in any of its forms. The aim of the game if for the main character to complete each level (or puzzle) while avoiding all the sources of light as prolonged exposure causes death. There are a multitude of methods available ranging from using boxes to make shadow for the character to walk through, to using different items to manipulate the shadow. All this creates a very entertaining puzzler which is just challenging enough to keep you interested.
Graphics in One Upon Light are very unique and nothing I have ever personally seen before. due to the whole theme of the game being based around light, it was used incredibly well to create detail in the background of the puzzles. It also somehow managed to create a real eerie background which for me really worked well with how the game looked and felt.
The characters were also real enough for the story to be immersive but not too engrossing to take away from the focal point of the game which was really the puzzles. One way I feel to improve this aspect would be to add even a little bit of color. While it is a theme of the game for it to be black and white, and i appreciate that, It felt sometimes like every level just looked too similar and I would’ve just like a little more variation.
Cut scenes were along a similar vine with graphical consistency throughout. While they didn’t have the best voice matches in my opinion and at some points didn’t even have moving mouths. this did mean that any story progression made through the cut scenes didn’t really enthrall me and make me feel like they were of any value. For this reason whenever I finished a level I was kind of hoping that it really wasn’t going to produce a cut scene as later into the game I felt they were wasting my time.
The music in the game wasn’t quite to my taste but that does not mean it wasn’t done well. There weren’t any major loops and music did change when certain items were used or activated, so it wasn’t a case of the music becoming irritating. The sounds of machinery and the other objects in the world were perfectly real sounding and really did add to the overall feel of the game in a positive way. Despite this I felt like a lot more could be done with sound. Especially when tied in with the puzzle aspect of the game. there weren’t any puzzled which required sound, such as a musical puzzle for example. This meant that really it was just a case of moving boxes to block out light and didn’t really utilize sound in the best way it could.
Game play was pretty basic. Four directional movements along with ‘X’ to grab hold of and use objects around the puzzle stages. that being said this wasn’t really an issue. Complex directional instructions would’ve taken away the pure puzzles of the games which were, in my opinion, fantastically designed to be just enough of a challenge that the game made me think. But not too much of a challenge as to make it too hard for anyone who has any experience with puzzle based games. I actually really did like the simplicity of this. It felt like one of the old retro games when a combination of three different buttons wasn’t needed.
Overall it was a really fun and challenging experience blended in really well with a little story. This isn’t really a genre of games that I can admit I’m all too familiar with, however, this really has opened my eyes to these games. With the puzzles challenging me at each twist and turn it really was something that held my attention and occupied my brain. The shortcomings of this game in both the graphic and sound departments weren’t an issue in any way really as the fundamentals of the game really did engross the player.
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