A Little Light, A Little Darkness

HIGH Being able to play every level, even without beating previous stages.

LOW Long levels without checkpoints, and too few health boosts.

WTF Was I really supposed to be able to advance without completing the previous level!?

A vile corruption has taken over the land. The guardian has been defeated and light is beginning to vanish. It’s up to the guardian’s brother, a nameless hero armed with a boomerang, to collect the fragments of light and restore order to the lands. This is the basis for the 3D puzzle-platformer Lightbringer.

Players take control of a mysterious, boomerang-wielding protagonist as he traverses dozens of stages while solving simple puzzles, jumping across bottomless pits, and defeating corrupted blobs. The worlds in Lightbringer consist of coastal shores, deserts in the sky, and icy oceans. Each one has slightly different terrain hazards like slippery ice or disappearing sand platforms, and the goal is to collect shards of light and clear the corruption at each end-of-the-level gate.

Each biome in Lightbringer is guarded by a corrupted beast waiting to throw down. These boss battles feel slightly out of place in such an otherwise-mellow adventure, but the fights are well-designed. Thankfully, Lightbringer’s controls are smooth and precise. The boomerang is easy to aim and can be charged up for more distance, but the 3D platform jumping here can still be as frustrating as it was in the earliest days of 3D gaming.

Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t aid in making these jumps, as it only rotates left or right. The platforms can be small and there were numerous times I was wanting to move the camera up and down to get a better view, only to be reminded that it was not possible.

More frustrating than the camera are lengthy levels with no checkpoints and few health upgrades. Many of the later levels feel huge, especially compared to the first couple of worlds, and after a defeat, players must restart the stage from the beginning. A checkpoint or more generous health drops would have gone a long way in encouraging players to keep chipping away at some of the more challenging levels.

While the length of levels and their lack of checkpoints is discouraging, a pleasant surprise that kept me playing Lightbringer was the ability to access any of the levels in the game. Later stages are unlocked by simply playing the previous level — they don’t need to be cleared, and there’s no need to find all the fragments of light. Simply try a stage and the next one unlocks. What an excellent concept!

While this feature alone earns Lightbringer a few brownie points, it still has some issues. That said, players looking for a casual 3D platformer experience can find it here.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Rock Square Thunder and published by Zordix. It is currently available on Switch and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 6 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E and contains Mild Violence. The main character makes a slight noise when hit by a foe. There is no bloodshed, just loss of a heart in the healthbar. When the main character is defeated, he slumps over and falls. This game is safe for gamers of all ages.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. The subtitles cannot be altered and/or resized. The story is told simultaneously with subtitles and a picture of the character speaking. This character is sort of like a guide and does not appear on the gameplay field. There are also story bells that can be rung – this info is told with text after hitting the bell. There are no noticeable sound cues that impact gameplay. This game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.

Brian Theisen
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