- Developer – Grave Danger Games
- Publisher – Meridian4
- Platforms – PC
- Release Date – June 7th, 2019
- Price – $7.99 (currently 10% off)
- Reviewed On – PC
- Review Code Provided – Yes
In a genre that has been filled with such innovative and creative minds that create masterpieces (some of which are my favorite games to this day), it’s becoming increasingly hard to bring innovative and fresh entries. In fact, a lot of puzzle games these days are either sequels, or the same concepts but 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, making an enjoyable and complex experience branching from just 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 and try and make your way through all the levels on three different environments. Your goal is to collect stars in order to rebuild a fallen star, bringing light in the darkness of your planet.
Through the gameplay, you try and accomplish this task but with a lot more depth. You do certain branches of each individual area in order to unlock power cores that let you do the challenge level for that particular 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 certain scenery from the world, which gives it that whole new layer of complexity.
The environments were used very effectively, creating the level out of pieces from the area its based off of while also making very intricate and enjoyable puzzles using things like small cabins for the forest, netting to climb on for 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 showed 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 with thinking being 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 a list of objectives you still need to complete in order to provide the player with a lot of guidance. With that, energy proving to have more of an impact would’ve been nice. Past the first 40 or so, I never really felt the need to go for them and it became more of a collectible on the side.
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 that you get to take in. The new mechanics all felt really fresh and unique, and the difficulty between levels was 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 either do so on their Steam or Humble Store pages for around $10 which I would recommend for such a well made, roughly 4-5 hour game.