It is unlike any game I have seen before. That is what I first thought when I saw the trailer for One Upon Light. It is also the winner of the FAMITSU Indie prize winner in 2014, 4Gamer.net indie prize winner in 2014, and winner of Digital Life Best MADE-IN-SG Game Editors Choice 1st runner-up in 2014. It is a world full of light and shadow. You are exploring Aurora Science labs to get your questions answered. You have no idea who you are,where you are and what happened. As you explore you find newspapers that explain little by little what happened. Light is not your friend in this game. Darkness and shadows become your closest allies to getting through the labs unscathed.
The game starts off right after an accident. You are the scientist and have no idea what is going on. You have no memory of what happened either. Thanks to the accident the light kills you. You can only stay in the darkness and shadows. The entire game is in black and white with some grey in between. That is what first drew me to One Upon Light. The entire world is void of color. I Like I said previously light is not your friend it is the enemy. If you bask in the light too long you die and have to restart.
The good thing is that you do not have to restart from the beginning. You get to pick up where you left off at. One Upon Light is all about staying in the shadows to get from one place to another. It takes creative thinking to figure out how to avoid the light and how to use the darkness to do that.I loved feeling like a ninja in the game without having to actually be one. It definitely takes some serious stealth to avoid the light. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the game which only adds to the appeal. The whole plot of the game is only revealed when you find the newspapers, They are spread out throughout the game. Only a little bit of the story is revealed at a time.
That can be irritating but for me it just kept me wanting more. I just wanted to keep playing until the entire story was revealed. You only come across a newspaper when you have passed a certain part. Once you pass a certain part you find the newspaper and move onto the next area. One Upon Light does a great job of mixing a story/adventure game with a puzzle platformer. There really isn’t separate levels like in a platformer. When you save the game it picks up right where you left off. You can’t really go back and replay a part unless you have different save files. I didn’t have any complaints about that because I am not the type to go back and replay a level unless I have to. The game does a great job of transitioning you from one part to the next.
There are a variety of puzzles that keep it challenging without getting bored. You don’t feel like you are doing the exact same thing over and over. The more you explore the lab and farther along you progress the varied the puzzles become. One minute you are just avoiding the light and the next minute you are moving filing cabinets to create shadow out of the light. What I loved is that the puzzles weren’t always elaborate. Some of them were simple but very challenging. I loved that everything just seemed to flow in this game. I loved that you got to explore your surroundings and take your time. There are no time limits at all in the game.
One Upon Light does have a short story which depending on how much you play the game can make the game short also. You can also use the Shadow Echo Glove later on in the game. What it does is it allows you to slow time , select a shadow and keep it to use. Even though the puzzles aren’t always elaborate they can increase in difficulty. One draw back is that at times the puzzles can be difficult to the point where failing at them over and over isn’t fun. It can make you stop playing altogether.
Throughout the entire game the perspective is top-down.Meaning that you play the entire game looking down on the lab. The top-down perspective has a Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds feel to it. I am not really complaining though because I thought it fit this game. If you aren’t used to playing in that perspective it can be irritating. I loved that the entire game was monochrome. The graphics had a cartoon yet quirky vibe to them. It also gives the game a gloomy vibe as well.
One Upon Light doesn’t have different game modes and you can’t change the level of difficulty. The controls were easy and if you ever get confused about the controls just go to the menu. The menu explains what the controls are. The game is very user-friendly. Kids and adults alike can play. What I enjoyed the most about this game even though the story is short is the graphics and the story. What I enjoyed most is not having the story revealed to me all at once. You had to keep playing in order to find out the entire truth. It just motivated me to keep playing despite how difficult some of the puzzles can be. Playing a game that was entirely monochrome just added to the experience.
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