In life, there are many things that just don’t mix. Gulping down some lovely orange juice after brushing your teeth or consuming alcohol with easy access to social media/text messages (trust us, it’s best left in your pocket!) are prime examples of this, but in the case of Flood of Light, water and fire are no match for each other, either. It’s these particular polar opposites that act as the main focal point for this 2D platform puzzler and, for the most part, offers a simple and slower-paced experience that’s ideal for quick pick-up-and-play sessions - but does the unique mechanic do enough to keep the player interested?
Controlling a little girl called The Guide - who happens to have a supernatural power that enables her to control light - it’s your job to restore normality to a flooded and desolate high-tech city. You do this by completing increasingly difficult puzzles to light up beacons called Monoliths that can be found at the end of each floor. Restore light to these beacons and the flood level recedes. Accessed through an elevator - which also acts as the game’s simplistic hub - the further down you go, the more challenging the puzzles become.
Each challenge is set out in a similar way to the ones presented previously, and although the premise initially portrays itself as dangerously simple, the game quickly throws some curveballs which will leave you flummoxed. Holding down the Y button creates a bubble that sucks the light from any lit fixtures within reach. You need to gather these units of light to activate switches; this is done by distributing the light across one-way wires that in turn pave the way to progress. The art of splitting the correct units of light is crucial; getting the exact calculation is challenging and don’t be surprised if you find yourself reaching for the restart button over and over again.
It’s a very simple approach to the puzzle genre, but one that works well. Chaining light in the correct order is a relatively straightforward task from the get-go, but with the inclusion of different coloured light, shifting platforms that block your way and the mere threat of dousing your hard work because of poor judgement, there are plenty of variables in the mix to spice things up.
The story is strengthened only by interaction with lone robots that fought with the constant rainfall but sadly lost. By holding down ‘A’ to repair them back to functioning A.I., you get a clearer insight into the finer details of the story. Just don’t expect anything too gripping; the narrative is thin on the ground and won't have you scouring every stage for the next nugget of info. It’s very clear from the start that, although it’s a pleasant touch, the storytelling is included mainly to break up the 50-odd puzzles. This wouldn’t be an issue if it were interesting to read; things aren’t helped by the numerous grammatical and spelling errors that are still present from the mobile version, something that could have been easily avoided with a little TLC from the porting department.
Overall, Flood of Light presents itself as a clean, modern and sharp title that rarely aims to impress with its looks. This game doesn’t churn out dazzling visuals, but pretty sprites and visual flair aren’t needed here; the ambient looping piano score picks up the slack and helps to create a relaxing experience in easily digestible chunks.
The soundtrack won’t be for everyone - the lack of variety quickly becomes apparent – but it’s fitting for the setting and is coupled well with the constant sound of falling rain. It’s a real shame, though, that we found ourselves running into a few technical issues; the hub area, for instance, is plagued with stuttering and jumpy audio which made us head for the next set of puzzles to save our precious ears. Also, navigating through the floors is a clunky and rigid affair. Moving The Guide with the left analog stick feels unresponsive and shifting into handheld mode was less than effective, too. The title first saw the light of day on mobile and it’s evident that the porting process was merely a cut and paste job. Sure, the inclusion of HD rumble is welcome, but we can’t help but think that the touchscreen should be utilised in a more thought-out fashion, as having to constantly flick between analog and touch controls doesn’t gel well at all.
Followers of melancholic-looking puzzle titles who like to sit down and cosy up on a rainy Sunday afternoon and test their brain with some slow-paced, solo gaming sessions will want to give this one a spin. The title does a good job of churning out challenges that will keep you entertained for hours at a time. However, if a deep story that whisks you off your feet with a meaningful narrative, tight plot and likeable characters is more your bag, then Flood of Light isn’t the title for you. We recommend spending your cash on something like Candle: The Power Of The Flame to scratch your 2D Puzzler itch.