- Developer – Grave Danger Games
- Publisher – Meridian 4
- Platforms – PC
- Release Date – June 7th, 2019
- Price – $10.99
- Reviewed On – PC
- Review Code Provided – Yes
The puzzle genre has been filled with such innovative minds that create masterpieces (some of which are my favorite games to this day). With that, it’s becoming increasingly hard to bring innovative and fresh entries for developers. In fact, many puzzle games these days are sequels or the same concepts with a different setting. That’s not to say games that do that are bad games, but you find that innovation in those entries is a lot more rare.
Night Lights is one such game that manages to stand out from that crowd. The game makes for an enjoyable and complex experience branching from a single concept. Night Lights has you taking on the role of a little robot who wants to bring light back into a world that has been covered in darkness. You use different light sources in order to solve increasingly difficult challenges. Through those challenges, you make your way through levels on three distinct environments. Your goal is to collect stars in order to bring light back to a world of darkness.
Through the gameplay of Night Lights, you try to accomplish this task but with a lot more depth. You complete each area in order to unlock power cores that unlock challenge levels for that stage. It’s an interesting way to do this kind of gameplay, and I had a lot of fun just adventuring through each environment to figure out what I had to do to complete each puzzle. These puzzles often involve light, a mechanic that can remove scenery from the world and add a layer of complexity.
The environments are used very effectively, and create the level out of pieces from the area its based off of. In combination with this, they make very intricate and enjoyable puzzles using aspects like small cabins for the forest, elevators to ride in the city, and simple structures to climb on in the desert. It’s a basic detail that gives each area its own unique feel and adds to the depth of the game. On top of that, the game took an interesting approach in the later half by making you think of different ways to solve things rather than the most obvious ways. It’s not a new concept for the genre, but it’s still great to see it included.
As for mechanics in the game, I thought they were all quite unique and felt different in their own way. There were abilities like dashes and light on the go that really changed up how the game was played. In the way they introduce the mechanics, I thought it was done flawlessly. You’re given a sample of what you’re supposed to do with that new tool, then do some simple levels working up to more complex challenges. The attention to detail in difficulty ramping for new mechanics as well as the game as a whole is quite remarkable, and is something I don’t get the chance to see done well very often.
The game is accompanied by a lovely art style and a great soundtrack to boot. The art style really fits well with the game in how minimalistic it is while still showing a lot of depth to the scenes. The forest shows many different trees and the landscape behind it, the city shows the large cityscapes and the open sky, and the desert shows some great sand dunes in the back. Simple, yet very effective in giving the scene more depth.
For the soundtrack, the songs chosen always seemed to fit the game very well for me. It offered a selection of very calming music that helped to fit the idea that it was a calm, quiet ambiance which really sets the tone for what you’re doing. The majority (excluding areas near the end of the game) is generally quite relaxing. Thinking is the hardest thing you have to do, which it accompanies successfully.
The game overall is really well executed, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t have its fair share of flaws to it. For example, the options menu features two sub menus (Video Settings and Audio Settings) with two different options in each which to me feels a little lackluster. Borderless windowed and the ability to change controls definitely would’ve been things I’d loved to see included. There are more obviously, but those are the two largest ones for me.
The game also features a strange amount of bugs which did hinder gameplay at times. For one, I sometimes would have to go back and replay a level in order to get an item I had already earned previously which while not too annoying at first, became a little frustrating after the second or third time. That as well as some issues with terrain when using your light bulb would’ve gone a long way.
As far as gameplay itself, I did have two issues that I feel should be addressed. For one, it would’ve been good to have an objective list in to provide the player with some guidance. With that, energy proving to have more of an impact would’ve been nice. Past the first 40, I never felt the need to go for them. It became more of a collectible which isn’t too bad, but would’ve felt better with more focus.
Overall though, I must say I really did enjoy playing through Night Lights. It offered some really enjoyable moments in not only the puzzles, but also the environments. The mechanics all feel really fresh and unique, and the difficulty between levels is executed flawlessly. I did have a few issues here and there, but it didn’t distract much from my enjoyment of the game. If you’d like to pick this game up, you can do so on the Steam or Humble Store for $10. For a 4-5 hour experience, that’s more than worth it.