Indie games have always been quietly popular on Xbox. For a while now, the latest releases have been mainly sequels to previous games, some more successful than others. It is therefore time for alternative titles to make their mark on 2017 with their uniqueness and original concepts. And that certainly shines through with Candleman.
As the title implies, you spend the entire games playing as an anthropomorphised candle who is able to move around, lighting the way as he goes. There are a number of different levels available and the aim is to progress through all of them with enough of the candle left to keep going. Because this is a candle, and candles burn. This is where the game’s uniqueness comes in. The player is able to self-ignite the candle as they progress making it easier to see your surroundings, which at times can be incredibly dark. But this comes at a cost as the candle can only be ignited for ten seconds before it completely burns out, and a life is taken. There are ten lives available for each level.
As I mentioned, the aim of the game is to progress through each level as you light the way to the exit. However, along the way there are also a number of candles available to be lit to help brighten up the areas. Despite not being necessary to progress, these candles are helpful in the darkest of areas and act as collectibles in each level as well. The majority can be easily collected, where as others are hidden in more challenging places.
There is also an additional blue candle that acts as a checkpoint in each level if you failing the level in any way. Thankfully, each candle that has been previously lit remains alight whether that be before or after reaching the checkpoint. The candle also drops a trail of wax every time he is self-ignited which is particularly useful when going over ground that the player has already covered.
I found the gameplay fairly simple, but still enjoyable. The candle’s jumping feature in particular was great to use, especially when it worked to my advantage. The more of the candle that is burned, the lighter the it becomes to manoeuvre. This made it far easier to reach some of the optional candles to light. Every other feature was very standard, moving around with the left analogue stick and igniting the candle with right-trigger. Although, it was the scenery that really stood out for me with this game. I found myself more interested in discovering all the areas to explore as oppose to simply searching for the exit. There has certainly been a great attention to detail in this aspect which is definitely worth noting.
My issue with the game therefore is that I wish there was more of it. After progressing through each level and lighting each candle, that is the end of the game. The replay value here is simply redoing everything you have done, and I doubt many people would do that. In addition to this, the game isn’t particularly challenging either. And I wouldn’t mind this if there was more of the simple, relaxing gameplay that takes you through all the way to the final level.
Overall, Candleman is a really great relaxed game to play. The whole 3 hours of it. And this includes lighting all available candles. But despite this, the original concept alongside the beautiful visuals make the game a real joy to play. The gaming mechanics are fresh, the navigation is fun and the exploration is immersive. It’s just a shame that it ends so soon.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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