Don’t step into the light! I-can’t-help-it. It’s-so-beautiful!
The unnamed protagonist in SUTD Game Lab’s One Upon Light is a scientist who was working in the lab late one night (there are unconfirmed reports his work involved monsters and mashes) when the reactor at the facility where he works explodes rendering him unconscious. He awakens to find himself trapped in the facility with no recollection of recent events and, to make a bad day even worse, he is now averse to the light.
One Upon Light is a monochromatic top-down puzzler where you are charged with helping the scientist battle his extremely fatal photophobia and make his way back to the laboratory in the hope of discovering clues as to what exactly happened. To do this you have to manipulate objects to create a path of shadows to navigate through the levels. In One Upon Light you are actively encouraged to linger in the shadows and avoid the light. If you stay in the light for too long you’ll perish faster than a vampire trying to get a suntan.
The game spans across twenty-one levels. To complete a level you toggle switches and use boxes to cast shadows which help you navigate your way around to a newspaper at the end. Each end of level newspaper provides a bit of back story to the recent events. The early levels act as tutorials teaching you the basic controls and mechanics. SUTD Game Lab have made each level feel unique and once you have passed the first few levels the difficulty of the game quickly increases and it becomes quite taxing at times. Thankfully there are plenty of checkpoints so that when you do die you won’t have to backtrack far. I did think some of the larger levels seemed a little empty, and with the light acting as your only enemy there is no real sense of urgency until the final level.
As the character is a scientist you would expect him to have some pretty nifty sci-fi gadgetry at his disposal and he has in the form of the “Shadow Echo” glove. This glove allows you to slow time and then freeze an echo of a shadow meaning you can use an object to cast a shadow then freeze the shadow and move the object elsewhere.
Visually the black and white monochrome-style graphics work really well and is an excellent choice for a game that is all about avoiding light. It is good to see the lighting looking so bright and imposing.
The trophy list is straightforward as all the trophies are all story related and therefore unmissable. When you reach the end of the game you will need to jump into chapter select to get your final trophy. It will probably take you no longer than 5 to 8 hours to get 100% but be warned the latter levels are quite difficult, level 20 in particular.
One Upon Light is an enjoyable game that introduces you to the game’s simple mechanics in the early levels then ramps up the difficulty and provides a challenge as you delve further into it. Some of the levels do require a bit of “trial and error” but they never get to the point where you’ll consider condemning this game to a well lit room.
NelMaNo Rating 7/10
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