Prepare to meet your demise (too much if you ask me!)
One Upon Light is one that looks very frustrating and challenging and being a fan of frustrating and challenging games myself, I decided to give One Upon Light a go; did it exceed my expectations or was I left in the dark?
Game: One Upon Light
Developer: SUTD Game Lab
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Reviewed on: PC (Steam)
(Review code provided by publisher)
One Upon Light is about a scientist who is unnamed and explores a laboratory after an experiment goes bad. You the Scientist must find your way through The Laboratory while solving simple puzzles but while staying in the shadows as the light is your enemy. The puzzles themselves require you to adjust the light so that it either dissipates or reflects elsewhere giving you a dark path to freely move on without death. The first thing that caught my eyes was the monochrome texture of the game. The whole game is bland in terms of colour but actually works in your favour as the light can be seen easily and works very well with the texture which never feels old or bland.
Each stage requires the player to navigate a part of the lab; reaching the other side while doing a variety of puzzles which include switching levers; pushing blocks in front of you so the light isn’t hurting you and pushing blocks onto rails that move automatically to another part of the stage. The game starts of easily but does get very challenging especially later on in the game; checkpoints are also a pain in later levels as they are less frequent and you will find yourself traversing for the most part the same part of the stage which does feel monotonous.
The puzzles themselves are great and for the most part challenging but it is easy to mess up and die and can also feel unfair at times as some of the deaths you will incur will be on you making silly mistakes. There is also the problem of navigation as how he can only move in 8 locked directions and can cause mishaps and make deaths feel even more unfair; and on top of this even foreground objects are your enemy as these obstruct your view and again result in death. These multiple deaths also reminded me a bit of Super Meat Boy, as if you have played that, you will understand the genuine frustration and the amount of times you’ll find yourself killed!
Music and Sound wise it is sad to say this game is sorely lacking; while sounds are there and very much represent them such as light switches there is no music at all which is a shame however some feel it may add to the games already eerily ambient feel.
While I have not completely finished the game (not down to lack of trying, more me trying not to smash my PC as it tested my patience quickly!), I feel it does start to feel bland later on. This is not because of lack of depth or innovation but because it feels similair throughout; this is partly due to going through later levels going over the same mistakes after messing up.
Whilst One Upon Light is a good puzzle game, it really can frustrate you at the best of times. It will entertain, but that entertainment will only last for a few hours at most. Whether you will find the will to go back remains to be seen. What really disappointed me was the lack of music in the game, which I mentioned earlier in my review. If there is a sequel, I urge the developers to reach and out and innovate a bit more in order to add to the enjoyment and overall experience. Whilst the developers have done a good job with the unique visuals and there is enjoyment to had, One Upon Light disappointed me overall.