Charming Indie Darling ‘Candlelight’ Shows Potential Puzzle Game Prowess

Idle Action Studios might have something special on their hands with their new platformer ‘Candlelight’. I had the chance yesterday to quickly check the game out and see what lay behind the gallery I was so infatuated with a few months ago after the developer contacted me to participate in the closed beta. I obliged because I am a total sucker for good art and high-concept puzzlers and what I found was pleasantly surprising.

Few and far between in the games industry do we see games creating mechanics that are so fresh that they open up a world of possibilities. ‘The Last of Us’ integrated a whole ladder placement scheme which lead to some of the most boring sequences in gaming this year, but beyond that whole ordeal it offered nothing new or fresh to the tired action-adventure genre. ‘Candlelight’ presents a game mechanic similar to the quirks of ‘Braid’ in that the mechanic is integral to solving puzzles and lends itself to a loose theme.

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‘Candlelight’ has two characters. One is a small-stature lantern-wielding vagabong looking gentleman with a lantern but the ability to jump lower than any platform character ever with the ability to jump. The other character is a tall and gangly silhouette with no lantern, but the ability to leap over tall buildings. Both characters are controlled separately: one with WASD and the other using the arrow keys. You then solve puzzles. But wait Petey, HOW?

Well, this is where the unique mechanic comes into play. The lantern that the vagabond controls can reveal platforming areas or remove areas from play. Okay, that is pretty confusing. The lantern magically reveals or hides things according to the light. That’s most likely a simpler explanation. The mechanic grabs you right away and within 5 minutes of booting the beta I had encountered several very neat puzzles. They were not only impressive in design, but each made me snicker a little bit. They tend to be so very simple, but because of the totally unique mechanics, none of the challenges were easy.

I greatly enjoyed the short time I spent with ‘Candlelight’ and I am definitely putting this one on watch for the upcoming months.

My Verdict: Indie Surprise of the Year Potential

Also, the people from Idle Action Studios will be at the Boston Festival of Indie Games coming up this weekend. So if you want a look at this, which I absolutely recommend, then make sure to go see them. Tell them I said “Hey”.

For more on ‘Candlelight’ check out Idle Action Studio’s official website. Enjoy!

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