Puzzle games is one of those genres that are not really that “visible” so to say. They are more often incorporated into other genres than focused upon on a game. Which makes sense, seeing as it is hard to keep a puzzle game engaging and fresh all the way through. Still, that doesn’t stop Linelight and its developers, My Dog Zorro, from attempting it and succeeding.
Linelight at its core is a very minimalistic game, which is readily apparent. Basically, the game gives the answer to the question: “What if every puzzle was built only on lines?”. You assume the role of Dash, a literal dash floating through space. The only controls available to you are up, down, left and right, which makes a lot of sense, seeing as you can only move to predetermined areas in predetermined ways following lines. Also, as a sidenote, if you do get the game, while nobody’s stopping you from playing with a keyboard, both the game and me would suggest you play with a controller, as it makes moving along the lines much more fluid.
Linelight does a fantastic job of taking standard puzzle mechanics and making them feel new, just by putting them on a line. Even the simplest puzzle, taking a path at the right time to avoid an enemy, feels so fun. What’s more, the game keeps throwing you more things, both old and new as time goes on. The developers really take advantage of the whole line thing, using elevators to move between them and utilizing them for all sorts of interconnected puzzles.
On top of the great puzzles, another thing the game has going for it is how it feels. I have never felt so relaxed and yet so anxious in a game before. Everything in the game, from the music to the overall look to how soothing every line looks just makes you calm. On the other hand, Linelight it mostly, if not fully, a one solution type puzzle game, meaning there’s only one way to beat a puzzle. This usually requires some very quick thinking and reflexes on your part, which means that many times during your playthrough you are going to be at least a little wound up. I honestly have no idea how the game pulls off both of those feelings at once but it does. Linelight’s Steam page describes this experience as acing a hard test while getting a massage, and I think it fits perfectly.
Another plus for the game is how intuitive it is. Basically, the first stages are there to introduce you to the basic mechanics of gameplay one by one, but they follow the approach of show, not tell. It’s built in such a way that you can instantly tell what you should do. At first I thought it was before I have played other games before, but I quickly realized that it’s also in part thanks to the developers, who made everything so crystal clear. I’m like 90% sure that if I give this to my mom who has never played a video game, she’ll figure it out in no time.
As I also said before, the game looks and sound amazing. The soundtrack is just so zen and calm that you can immerse yourself in it completely. Movement in general looks very fluid and unforced, while the way everything just sorta glows is very soothing for me. Moreover, the choice of colours for the game is also very appropriate and pleasing to the eye.
The only slight issue I have with the game is a few minor lightning glitches, but these don’t detract from the experience at all and will probably be fixed pretty soon, as the game is still being worked on.
Currently, Linelight has over 250 puzzles. The developers themselves say it will take about six hours to complete the game, but I think it could be much more. There’s secrets after all. What’s more, there is another game mode in the works. This continued attention to the game plus all the fantastic things I described above make it one of the best puzzle games I’ve ever played. If you are at the least familiar with the genre (or even want to be), Linelight deserves your full attention.
You can get Linelight on Steam for 10 euro.
Linelight takes everything that makes puzzle games great and put it on the line for us to enjoy. It’s relaxing yet agitating gameplay, its fantastic soundtrack and its beautiful neon looks are all reasons why you should purchase it as soon as possible.
+ Great graphics and sound.
+ Very intuitive.
+ Fun gameplay.
– Minor lightning issues.
– Philip “Snowchill” Alexandris