No matter where humans go, we bring calamity with us, usually through our own selfish greed. The Lightbringer, a light platform puzzler from developers Rock Square Thunder, is set in such a world.
Humanity found a way to harness light emitted from a series of monoliths scattered across the world. In their greed and arrogance, thinking the power source was limitless, they drained all light from the monoliths, opening up the world to a slime-like corruption. Enter the chosen ones known as Lightbringers, who have the ability to manipulate light. They are tasked with collecting light motes from across the world and returning them to the monoliths to purge them and defeat the slime corruption.
You are the fourth Lightbringer to take on the task of cleansing the monoliths and saving humanity from their stupidity. Your journey begins after the mysterious disappearance of the third Lightbringer, your sister, though her spirit seems to guide you through your trials and tribulations, urging you on to be the hero the world needs. As usual, not much pressure then.
The Lightbringer drops you into its world with very little in the way of fanfare or introduction. The game’s lore and your mission are revealed in-game. Your mission is narrated to you by the spirit of your sister through rhyming verse. She urges you on and comments on the world, the only source of companionship in what is, otherwise, a lonely and solo journey. Scattered across each level are bells that further explain the lore and history you’re treading in. There’s just enough to let you know why you’re here and doing what you’re doing but not enough to make it feel like more than just set dressing to the game’s reason for getting you to complete its levels.
Visually The Lightbringer presents charming, simple stylised visuals that we’ve seen a lot of by now, especially in the indie development scene. Visuals and designs are crisp and clean and the game runs smoothly. There’s a very storybook aesthetic to the look and feel of the game that is in keeping with how the developers have chosen to tell the story. Combined with a catchy soundtrack, the Lightbringer is an easy, playing experience that appeals to those moments when you just want to lay down on a couch and enjoy something less stressful.
Displayed from an isometric angle, you’re going to be spending all your time exploring the levels, engaging in light combat, platforming and puzzle-solving.
The levels start off small and simple but continue to grow in size and complexity the further you get into the game. It never reaches a level that requires twitch platforming skills, but rather for you to deal with more timing on jumps, or jumping/avoiding obstacles while carrying objects or switching timed fans off for you to get past them. Precision double jumping is easily achieved thanks to the circular shadow beneath your character and all the pillars or platforms that you’ll need to hop around on have been perfectly placed in conjunction with how far the jump mechanic carries you. For the most part, missing a jump is usually on you rather than the game’s design.
You only have a few skills and one weapon at your disposal. You can double jump, dodge roll, carry objects and throw a boomerang. Your trusty boomerang serves multiple purposes beyond simply putting an end to the bad guys. You can, of course, defeat enemies with it, collect light motes with it, destroy objects or use it to trigger switches. A nice touch is that you can use it to hit multiple enemies on its return to you. You can also charge up your throw to cover longer distances and use manual aiming to hit specific objects and switches.
The growing size of the levels is a nice touch as well, along with the depth of the corruption. While nothing looks along the level of dystopian destruction that you would expect – in fact, there’s a nice sense of sunny island-ness to the levels – there are more enemies the further you go, that become more aggressive and fewer NPC’s around as set dressing.
One aspect that I did find disappointing was that you couldn’t talk to the NPC’s. While it was nice to see the world that they inhabit, they simply felt like props and Rock Square Thunder could have used them to do more of the story’s heavy lifting, making it more personal than the text block you get from ringing an impersonal bell.
Another was the inclusion of the now-ubiquitous ice levels in platformers. The inertia and sliding around made these the least favourite of the levels, especially the boss you have to face while dealing with said icy movement systems. I feel like it’s well past time we put this tired level trope to the axe. . .
With a mostly chilled, laid back approach to its game design and coupled with a catchy soundtrack, The Lightbringer is a charming though low-key puzzle platformer that is perfect for those moments when you just need to chill and enjoy the journey.
Visuals8/10 Very Good
Audio8/10 Very Good
- Charming visual style
- Nicely judged platforming
- Catchy soundtrack
- Ice levels. Nuff said
- NPC’s are merely set dressing