Developer: Rock Square Thunder
Genre(s): Platformer, Puzzle, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 07/10/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
The Lightbringer is an action-platformer where slime has taken over the world. I needed to purify the lands and restore them to their prior state. Was removing the slime even worth my time? Find out in this Rapid Review.
As soon as I finished my first level in The Lightbringer, I was worried about the rest of my experience with the game. First, the core gameplay loop was quite tedious. I was sent on a journey to rid slime from these totems. Along the way, I could collect various collectables, but it was not required, and I never felt obligated to. Thus, I found myself simply working my way towards the end of the level. The Lightbringer is very basic. The character movement was not interesting, the platforming was not challenging, and the puzzles were simple. It got even worse when the game crashed immediately after finishing the first level. The Lightbringer did not make a good first impression.
Thankfully, first impressions are not everything. The game started performing better in the next couple of chapters and the game started including more intense puzzling and adventures. Still, I was experiencing some noticeable frame rate issues, especially when starting and ending levels or when encountering many enemies at the same time.
As I progressed, I began to enjoy the simplicity of the gameplay loop. I began each level in one area and needed to make my way towards the goal. There are different obstacles that got in my way, but all I needed to do was solve all the puzzles and make it to the end. There were optional collectables and items that taught me about the lore of the world, but none of these were required to proceed. The objectives were simple.
Right Back to Bad, Like a Bad Boomerang
Unfortunately, the character abilities were also very simple, and frustrating to master. I wielded a boomerang. I could charge it, but The Lightbringer did not feature different throws, curvature, or precise aiming. When compared to the other boomerang games I have played: Bamerang and Boomerang X, the attacking options in this game are substantially less enjoyable to wield. The throws are challenging to align as there are no aiming assists, and there are no scopes or first-person view. Plus, once the boomerang is thrown, it is static, meaning it cannot be manipulated in mid-air. Thus, the boomerang feels tricky to control and ends up being more reliable as a close-range weapon than a long-range one.
The issues do not stop there. My character had a very slow base walking speed. Many adventure games do, and I was not innately off-put by this. Unfortunately, many games feature a run speed that is substantially faster, making for more enjoyable travel. The Lightbringer featured a run button, but the speed was only marginally faster, so I rarely ended up using the mechanic. Additionally, there was a dodge roll, but it had so much end lag that it was rarely worth using. Plus, I could not jump to cancel the stun, so it felt exceptionally punishing.
Moreover, the enemies were not challenging enough to warrant the use of a dodge roll, especially one that was not fun to use. The slimes were all incredibly slow, and for the most part extremely easy to avoid. Some of the later slimes had projectile attacks and they were slightly more surmountable, but largely, the slimes were easy to deal with, regardless of their attack patterns. The slimes in The Lightbringer were able to embody different items and use them for protection. This was very similar to how the zombies in Plants Vs. Zombies found random equipment to wear. However, the slimes in this game did not come equipped with the interesting outfits that the zombies had. Though some of the slimes shot projectiles, most of the slimes acted the same and were not a challenge. I would have liked to see a larger variety in the costumes, as most of the costumes just added protection.
The boss fights were an excellent example of doing this correctly. For each of these fights, the slime took over a new host and used their abilities. I fought some very interesting foes here, and they were great tests of my skill. These were some of the best levels and were incredibly rewarding throughout.
The puzzles were less enjoyable to play. I never had to think much about my decision making. Instead, I just focused on the act of completing the puzzles. Sometimes they required that I bring weights from one area to another, other times they required I use mechanical systems to alter the map. Overall, they were easy, and I never had to think much about them. Still, this would have been fine if the movement was more fun to experiment with. However, these puzzles quickly began to feel tedious, and I lost interest quickly. As I began playing the later levels, some of the puzzles began getting more complex. I enjoyed exploring various rooms in a temple and using boxes to activate various pressure plates to open certain corridors. Still, these dynamic puzzles happened sparingly. Largely, the puzzles were a breeze, and I did not need to think about my actions.
Worst of all, the levels that were the most engaging and the most intense performed the worst. The final levels were the most enjoyable, but the game became unresponsive at times and there were audio issues that ruined the music. It was so bad that once I completed the level, I needed to restart the game. This fixed the audio issues, but at this price point, there should not be major game-breaking bugs like the ones listed above. There were performance issues throughout the game, and largely I got to experience the game with minimal issues. Unfortunately, the performance of some of the levels was simply unacceptable at this price point. Unless the developer issues a patch, I would avoid picking up this title for the performance, let alone my grievances with the gameplay.
The scenery and atmosphere of The Lightbringer are charming though. Even though there can be some issues, the pastel colours pop off the screen, and the ambient music is charming. Even the story is not bad. Sure, the content is nothing meaningful, but the characters speak in poems, and the dialogue lines shed light on the world and how it got to be in disarray. I did not think the story was a meaningful addition, but there are some nice touches here. The visuals are all great. There are a few different environments with distinct textures, blocks, and even some new enemies. The character himself looks good too, and the visuals stand out as charming, even in the sea of other titles. The audio was also good. Apart from the audio issue I mentioned before, I had no grievances with the audio in The Lightbringer.
Overall, The Lightbringer is a bit tedious, but there are some decent puzzles and novel concepts. It is wrapped up with a solid presentation too. However, the main character is not fun to control. Aiming the boomerang is meticulous, the character mainly fights basic slime, and the advanced movement techniques are practically useless. Even without the performance issues, The Lightbringer certainly has its flaws. Considering the performance of the game, this title is not one I can recommend, even focusing on its strengths.
Rapid Reviews Rating
2 out of 5
You can purchase The Lightbringer on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.