At first glance Light in the Dark looks and feels much like a handful of other popular mobile games. The art style is very much akin to hits like Cut the Rope and Where’s My Water?, with a standard layout VERY much like those and other games. You move along from level to level, trying to achieve one goal, while obtaining up to three stars for meeting more difficult, but optional, requisites. So at its core, Light in the Dark is incredibly similar to games that already exist. Why, then, is it so much fun?
The answer is, basically, that Dreamgate Studios has successfully taken the tried and true formula of its predecessors to build around with another unique twist. In Where’s My Water? you’re getting the water from point A to point B, while Cut My Rope makes you get candy from the rope to the hungry creature. Similarly and also very differently, Light in the Dark plays with colour blending and light bending, and is extremely clever.
Working around physical obstacles, you must drag the proper coloured light to shine on the sleeping baby lights of matching colour to wake them up. There are also three stars in each levels, generally placed in more hard-to-reach corners that will often require the help of mirrors or the combining of colours to activate.
For instance, you may have an orange light and a blue light, but a purple star (see above). That star can only be activated by shining both lights together upon the star. Like I said, clever.
The great thing about it is that it’s not TOO clever, though. Most children learn to mix colours before even going to school, so it’s simple enough that kids can enjoy it, but challenging enough for adults like myself, at 27 years old, to also have a blast. Seriously, when I first turned the game on I didn’t set down the iPad until I had nearly completed the entirety of Tomb 1 of a current 4, each of which holds 24 levels.
I say “current” because Dreamgate is working on additional levels right now, which will add locales to the so far lone destination of Egypt, as well as bring more tombs to the existing world. Some of the expansion levels will be on display at PAX Australia in a few weeks, where I will be testing them out and reporting back with my thoughts. The upcoming expansion should include around another 120 puzzles to solve and enjoy.
For now, though, I shall return to Tomb 2, where I’m a bit stuck. I have to activatee a switch by shining light on it – which opens a pathway until the light leaves – then move the light to shine on the baby through the corridor I’ve just opened up before the path closes again. It is frustratingly good fun, and the feeling of satisfaction I get upon working out a level is very real. It has been a while since I have enjoyed a puzzle game so immensely, and Dreamgate deserves proper kudos for it.
By the way, if you do find yourself quite lost in how a particular puzzle is solved, you can use one free hint per level to find the exact placement of any one moveable object on-screen, be it light, mirror, or possibly other items I’ve not yet come across. You may purchase further hints through in-app purchases or receive another free hint (of which are limited per day) by watching an advertisement. It’s not ideal, and takes away from the game, but that just serves as motivation to figure it out for yourself. Again, you’ll be so chuffed with yourself after finally working out that extra tricky devil of a level after days of being stuck.
As I said before, Light in the Dark feels incredibly familiar, yet altogether different and new. This colourful spin on the mobile puzzler formula is incredibly welcome, and this reviewer hopes it will receive continued support by way of new levels for a long time to come.
Light in the Dark is currently available on the Google Play, Windows Phone, and iTunes app stores for $1.99. In-app purchases are available, but not required.
A copy of this game for iPad was provided to Save/Continue for review purposes.