Puzzle games are usually an idyllic experience, and they are easily digestible in relaxed settings. As much as I like fast-paced puzzle titles, I don’t mind spending a few minutes flexing my brain and solving some tricky tasks. Flood of Light is a game that wishes to bask players in a calm yet dreary world, but falls a little short of doing so with its main gimmicks and repetitive scenery.
Flood of Light puts players in the role of a nameless Guide who travels to a place devoid of life. After a flood has seemingly wiped the vicinity of human existence, the Guide must recede the flood by activating pedestals across different levels, using the power of light to assist her in traveling through the flooded rooms. While light (pun intended) on story elements, there is some backstory and lore that can be explored through optional video logs and robots that can be activated. The glum yet peaceful atmosphere is fitting with the game itself, though it will feel repetitive as you play through similar settings throughout your playthrough.
Because of the deluge impeding your quest, you’ll need to use the power of light orbs to activate power sources that will unlock your next destination. As the Guide, you can absorb these orbs and use the R button to direct the light orbs to unlit light sources. However, you’re restricted with this power: light cannot travel to lit sources, and all light must travel. This means you can’t store light orbs and will have to split the difference by lighting other lamps and then absorbing them there. It seems a bit complicated, and for a game as slow-paced as this, it feels out of place. There were many times that I had to restart a section I was on because I misplaced a light orb trail to the wrong lamp and couldn’t reach the actual location in order to re-absorb the light.
As much as I liked the innovative solutions to some of the puzzles, I couldn’t help but notice that the default control scheme is cumbersome and finicky, with light going to places that I didn’t intend on going. At times, the game moves at a snail’s pace; not in regards to technical performance (the game runs pretty smoothly undocked), but the game’s absolute speed seems to be a bit slower than usual. This makes the experience drag on for what seems to be a while, and there were many occasions where I just wanted the animations to end so I could reach the next section of the level. The main mechanic is a mixed bag, and one that could use some work.
While the main game isn’t that mentally taxing, there are bonus wicks that you’ll need to light in order to get the true ending, and they can be pretty difficult to light and clear the stage at the same time. This challenge will appeal to those that want to milk every minute of Flood of Light, and I think the optional goals are fine for this type of game. Other than that, there’s not much for which to go back, as most of the solutions are rather linear, extra wick placements notwithstanding. All in all, there’s not much here that will excite anyone not into the puzzle genre, though hardcore puzzle game fans might want to check this one out.
Flood of Light
Flood of Light is a passable title for those that are hankering for a few hours of puzzle solving. While repetitive settings and cumbersome controls hamper the overall experience, there’s enough here to justify the $4.99 price tag.