Overall Score 68%
It's nearly time for the Bytten Ernies, and part of my mind is conscious that I need to start selecting some winners. Here's a game that could easily win the category for "Most Imaginative Use Of Punctuation", if it existed. Yes, this is L!ght Deluxe, one of the few occasions in which you'll find an exclamation mark in the middle of a word, l!ke th!s. No, I won't keep that up all through the review. That would quickly become annoy!ng.
There is a game plot - something about a black hole stealing starlight and us needing to recover it for the sake of space/time - but it really has no bearing on the game itself. Who is this Ekvan bloke, anyway? Instead, let us focus on what we actually have to do... which is that old stalwart, manipulating sliding blocks. On each level you have one (or more) light beams, and your task is to get the beams to travel from their start points to their end points, using an assortment of prisms and mirrors. Light comes in red, blue, green and white and you need to ensure the right colour light reaches each receptor.
You move blocks by clicking on them with the mouse and "dragging" them in the appropriate direction. Once it starts moving, a block will not stop until it hits another block or the edge of the puzzle. Getting things positioned correctly is thus a challenge. Further, not all blocks can be moved, or can only be moved in particular directions. Blocks can alse be rotated by clicking on them with left or right mouse button. They include basic obstacle blocks, prisms, filters, convertors and the light sources and receivers themselves.
Early puzzles will guide you through the basics and explain the various different blocks - you'll make light work of these! Later puzzles are a touch harder, and if you fly through the easier ones, there are harder puzzles that will soon satisfy you. There's no time or move limit - you can spend as long as you like on a puzzle, restart it as often as you wish and undo the last move - and these are only counted at all for your own interest. You can replay a puzzle (to find a faster or more efficient solution) as often as you like. You can also attempt the puzzles in any order you wish, so if you get stuck you can move on to another.
The graphics are fairly simplistic. Blocks are basic and easy to identify - I can see this working well on the iPhone, though no such version exists yet as I write this - though the colours are all primary. This makes sense, however, given that you need to know which colours of light are being affected by different blocks. If two light beams coincide, their colours merge in a "barber pole" effect, making it clear you've got something wrong. Backgrounds change colour every attempt at a puzzle, though beyond adding variety to the background I don't think there's any significance to this. Sound is virtually entirely music, of which the demo has four tracks. More music can be added, I gather, though whether any is available to add at present I do not know. The music is good but got a little samey for me after a while.
While L!ght Deluxe is easy to operate, it suffers slightly from being a little TOO easy. With no restrictions on moves, time, levels or anything else, I felt little motivation to persevere - it is perhaps too open-ended. There are no solutions offered with the puzzles, which would have been quite a nice touch (and wouldn't necessarily be the only or even best ones to use). I did occasionally click when I meant to drag, thus rotating blocks, but this is easily reversed and doesn't even count as a move. On the plus side, with around a hundred puzzles and the ability to make more, there's enough here to keep you going for some time if you do get hooked.
While a perfectly competent offering, L!ght Deluxe seems rather thin. There's little here that hasn't been done before, and often better. Puzzle fans may get some enjoyment out of it - try the demo and see what you're getting, but for me I'd like to see some fleshing out. L!ght Deluxe - light in name, light in features. A good early effort, guys. Now create something Heav!er!
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