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Have you ever noticed how quickly the world changes when the lights are out? As everything is illuminated, there is a sense of security and warmth. Yet when darkness strikes, even the most familiar places can feel alien. So what is the solution ? You have to turn on the lights to illuminate the dismal environment, what is it! This is the central idea behind Night lights, a brilliant light manipulation experience.
Developped by meridian4 and published by RatalaÃ¯ka games, this is a puzzle platform title. Composed of forty-five levels in a range of locations, Night lights becomes more and more complex and convoluted.
Night lights is a fresh take on a well-trodden mechanic.
Light handling and puzzle titles go hand in hand like Ant and Dec, peanut butter and jam (jelly for our American friends), and Christmas and Santa Claus. Heck, I recently covered Tandem: A Tale of Shadows, which takes up this idea brilliantly. So with so many games using this element, you have to do well to stand out. Fortunately, Night lights does just that. Its striking style, drip mechanics and interesting scenography all work in harmony. Plus, its straightforward approach won’t overwhelm you. However, a pinch of Metroidvanie the game adds a bit of spice which further increases the challenge.
The story, or what little remains of it, revolves around a little robot. He finds himself on a dark, threatening and authoritarian planet. He begins his life with limited skills, which limits his ability to explore. As the game evolves, the robot learns new abilities, and previously inaccessible places can be visited.
Or Night lights excels is its lack of complexity. I loved the freedom to explore each of the four areas and the introduction of new mechanics. You will learn the ability to jump higher, run, sprint, and gain a head bulb. These new skills were fascinating, and you’ll love discovering hidden areas on the map. This creates a captivating exploration adventure experience, and this is where the Metroidvanie Items creep around in-game. It was easy to get lost when trying to find collectibles or new routes, and some may find that frustrating. However, I liked how it added longevity while requiring you to stay focused.
Your newly learned skills need energy to function, and this is where collectibles are essential. Scattered across the map you’ll find lightning bolts to collect. These delicate treasures are always out of reach! Ironically, the skills that need them must be used to collect them. Along with this, you need to find a limited amount of crystals! They are the key to progressing and powering multiple tools and portals along the way. Without it, you don’t have a chance to complete the game, so keep your eyes peeled.
Night lights is beautiful to watch.
This 2D side-scrolling title is absolutely stunning to watch. Set with a mostly monochromatic palette, I was amazed by its haunting style. Gloom is punctuated by moments of color and warmth from all light sources. It was an elegant touch that complimented the striking black on white. With four worlds to explore, the developers have done a great job creating variety in a minimalist setting. Plus, I never got tired of what I saw, and it was made easier by the smooth gameplay.
meridian4 tried to enhance the eerie atmosphere with a monotonous choral soundtrack. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as well as they had hoped. I could see what they were trying to achieve, but the end result was repetitive and boring. Additionally, there is a bug with the audio settings that mutes the sound when you start the game. You will either manually change it as you wish or play silently. Either way, it’s a frustrating issue that needs to be addressed.
Familiar platform controls.
If you are a veteran of the genre or have only played a few games, you will be familiar with the controls. The well-designed setup and detailed tutorial make it a pleasure to play. Yes, it can be tedious and accuracy is key, but all the shortcomings are user-related. Many games require finesse and practice to progress, and Night lights is no different.
With its many levels, unlockable skills and collectibles, there is plenty to keep playing. In addition, the Metroidvanie style exploration adds mystery to this surprisingly simple title. Unfortunately, the list of achievements is tiny and does not increase longevity. Thereafter, the replay value is found in the gradual learning curve and expansion of each area.
Night lights revives the genre.
When a game uses well-established mechanics, it’s easy for it to go bland. However, Night lights twists familiar elements and revives the genre. I loved the simplicity of the gameplay, the mystery behind the exploration, and the striking aesthetics. If you like puzzles and platforms, this game is for you. I enjoyed it and recommend you buy it here! Can you add light to this dark planet? Explore, unlock new abilities, and find all the collectibles.