It’s always good to know that in a world of high-end graphics and intense action video gaming there is always time for a less energetic approach to video games. Linelight is a puzzle game set in a world made entirely of lines and lights. The style is simple but the puzzles are not. Linelight, has been released on Steam and PS4 by My Dog Zorro.
However, is Linelight a great example of simple gameplay done well, or is the simplicity a sign of the game lacking something? I’ll give you a clue. It won Gameacon 2016 Game of the Year. Read on for the full review.
There isn’t one really. You control a small line called ‘Dash’ and you have to make it from one end of the puzzle to the next. That’s it. There are no fair maidens to save, or great evils to vanquish. The game is all about simply getting from one side to the other. Though what is at the end of all these lines is reserved for those who reach the ultimate end of the path.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that my overly simplistic description of the story is indicative of the gameplay itself. The puzzles in Linelight start off simple enough but as you progress through the 300 levels and six worlds the difficulties start piling on.
For example, your first couple of levels are simply about traversing the lines. Then colour coded switches are added that, when you move over them cause the relevant colour coded parts of the level to shift or move. Once you get the hang of these, patrolling enemies (or little red lines) are added which have to be avoided or trapped in other parts of the map by moving the route via the switches.
Brett Taylor (founder and lead designer, My Dog Zorro) has this to say…
“My goal was to take simplification to the extreme (initially for the fun design challenge), but eventually because that’s where the most beautiful possibilities dwelled. The real meat and joy in puzzle games is when players have all the information they need, and every puzzle in Linelight skips straight to that moment. No fluff, no filler. Just puzzle-solving ecstasy. I hope you have as much fun experiencing Linelight as I did creating it.”
Graphics & Sound
You might think that graphically Linelight isn’t going to win any awards. But you’d be wrong. Linelight was nominated in the Bit Awards 2016 Best Style category. I agree that the style is wonderfully understated. Each screen is a simple layout of lines and lights, and the calming piano music with each level, keeps you ready to think through each level rationally. Who needs all that adrenaline anyway.
Another element that has not been overly complicated is the controls. All you need to do is worry about moving Dash, nothing else. Just get to grips with a simple left, right, up and down control method, and get down to some puzzle gaming goodness.
Like all good puzzle games it starts off nicely simple and each level adds more elements to get to grips with, more enemies and more complex solutions to each level as you progress. From my experience, Linelight doesn’t leave you frustrated or smashing your keyboard in anger, so the difficulty progression is spot on.
This one is always a tricky one to measure, and where this game doesn’t have any reasons for playing through the whole thing again. The difficulty level of the puzzles combined with the ease of control make it a good choice for something to just pick up and play every now and again.