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Game Info:

One Upon Light
Developed by: SUTD Game Lab
Published by: Rising Star Games
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Available on: PS4
Genre: Puzzle
Number of Players: Single-Player
ESRB Rating: E 10+ for mild language and fantasy violence
Price: $11.99

Thank you Rising Star Games for sending us this game to review!

Aurora Science labs was doing research on harnessing light energy when something went horribly wrong.  A lone scientist wakes up covered in debris from the explosion at the research facility.  He must make his way across twenty-one levels with various obstacles in his way to get to the end of each level. At the end of each map is a newspaper that reveals the game’s backstory bit by bit.

The newspapers will also reveal new gameplay mechanicals like the ability to use machinery to transfer crates across the levels and to harness the power of shadows.  Upon waking up after the explosion, the main character/scientist quickly realizes that exposure to light, even for a few seconds, is deadly.  Utilizing various switches and crates he must turn off or avoid all light sources.  More often than not a light source cannot be extinguished and precise timing for walking through temporary shadows is essential for survival.  

 

One Upon Light
Highlights:

Strong Points: Interesting concept; plenty of checkpoints
Weak Points: Semi-interesting story; fun in short spurts but lacks incentive to keep interest for longer periods of time
Moral Warnings: Death by light exposure, minor swearing (d*mn)

About half way through the game the ability to manipulate shadows is introduced and adds a new level of complexity to the game.  Instead of staying in the shadows, the player can now freeze them in place one at a time.  Again, timing is key and being off by a second is hazardous to your health. 

In the event of a miscalculation, the player is quickly killed in a non-gruesome manner and taken to the closest checkpoint.  While the checkpoints are not visible, they are plentiful and will typically set the player back by only a few minutes.  The levels themselves can take a couple of minutes to fifteen or more to complete.  Some of them serve as tutorials while others will just leave you scratching your head.  While I was able to solve most of the puzzles on my own, I did need the assistance of a youtube walkthrough occasionally.  

 

One Upon Light
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 13/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 92%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Like many puzzle games, frustration may take its toll after a while.  Most of the deaths I experienced were deserved, but some of the puzzles got to be tedious after a while.    The game progress is only saved after completing a level so there is no quitting in between.  I found that quick gaming sessions worked best for this title.

While the premise of avoiding light is interesting, the narrative is a bit sparse in this game.  Sadly, the subtitles display the word d*mn in the first few minutes of gameplay.  There is no voice acting so it’s not audibly heard.  The background music and sound effects get the job done, but are forgettable in the end.  

The black and white visuals are simple and work well for this puzzle game.  The controls are easy to master with the X button being used for interacting with objects and the right button for enabling the shadow mode.  Moving the scientist can be done with the D-pad or joystick.

The asking price is a reasonable $11.99, but only expect a few hours of entertainment from One Upon Light.  Puzzle lovers may enjoy the mind boggling labyrinths, but casual gamers like me will get tired of the gameplay quickly. After the game intro, One Upon Light is safe for gamers of all ages to play.  Though some of the later puzzles require good timing and coordination to complete, so the ESRB’s recommendation of ten and older is understandable. 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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