WiiWare | Studio Walljump | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 500 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
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2nd May 2011; By KnucklesSonic8
interviewed Studio Walljump over two years ago, I've had my eye on Liight. After seeing the trailers and the many screens for the game, I was pretty much sold on the concept. So naturally, having to wait for so long to see the game release was tough. Plus, with this so much time having gone by since it was first revealed, many puzzlers have left lasting impressions of their own. But I have to say, it was definitely worth the wait. Although I was a bit skeptical about whether or not Liight would truly leave a mark, I was so pleased to see that it successfully rises above many of the puzzle games we've seen on the service.
Liight makes use of a unique premise that distinguishes it from other puzzle games. Players have to use light-emitting prisms to activate all the coloured targets situated on the playing field. Some targets require a combination of two prisms before they start to resonate which is where the colour theory principle comes into play. Then there are white prisms that require the power of all the lights on the board to start shining. As the targets turn on, musical beats begin to play in the background. Seeing the game for the first time manages to put a smile on your face with the way everything comes together, merging a good concept with solid execution.
The controls are easy enough to wrap your head around. Simple to pick up and a bit tricky to master, you only need the Wii Remote in order to play. Holding the A Button will grab a prism and pressing the B Button at the same time can be used to twist and rotate it into place. The game becomes tricky in the sense that some levels have other elements that must be considered in order to move on. For example, sometimes you'll find targets resting on blank space that are inaccessible on their own, and since you can only place lights on grey panels, you'll need to think about how to extend your light's reach far enough into the distance. Other times, you'll find X-shaped circles lying around to add to the challenge factor, forcing you to control your prism's light so that it doesn't make contact with them.
Not all of the levels are one-dimensional. Large X-marked blocks add another degree of depth to the gameplay, requiring you to use them in a fashion that befits outside-the-box thinkers. You'll need to figure out the right angle to bounce a thinner beam of light off into the distance while preventing the others from making contact with incompatible targets. Having to use this element in this way keeps you involved as you search out the right solutions. Much to its strength, there's a lot of experimentation involved in the process of solving each of the puzzles. Naturally, this keeps players immersed in all that's going on and this is part of what makes Liight so compelling.
Starting off on the Easy difficulty, the puzzles are largely tame, serving as a good start for getting you started. As you move on to the Medium and Hard sets of stages, you'll begin adopting slightly different thought patterns where you'll use other light emitters to block the beams from other prisms. Essentially you can create divergent splits to change one beam of light into two lines going off in opposite directions. The developers have put forth great strides to really flesh out the main concept so that puzzle fans don't lose interest halfway through and continue all the way through.
More on the actual musical component, Liight does a great job of using this element to keep players engaged with each passing level. With multiple lights highlighted, you can actually create the kind of layered song that would get you to bop your head. Mind you, not all of the individual beats string together perfectly and I definitely would have liked to see stronger transitioning in that respect. But I still found it enjoyable to listen to these songs to the point that even after puzzles were solved, I would still linger on the Results screen for a while just to hear the full thing play. In a way, this secondary element actually put you in the right mood for the next puzzle. Whenever you become addicted to solving the puzzles in this game (as you will many times), hearing the music bumping is a nice way of keeping your spirits up. Plus, the fact that the sounds change periodically keeps things varied for the most part.
In addition to the normal 'Solve' area where you can take on any of the 100 stages in the game, there's also the 'Create' Mode where you can actually use a level editor to design your own puzzles. Containing a mix of both simple and advanced elements, the possibilities may not be "endless" per se, but there's definitely a lot of room for creativity here. Once you've created something you're proud of, you can head over to the 'Share' portion of the game and send your puzzle to one or more of your Wii Friends. And thanks to WiiConnect24, you can access your own personal Inbox and receive user-created levels from your friends, adding even more replay value.
Last but not least, you have 'Nonstop' Mode -- a fun gameplay variant that adds a different spin on the usual formula. Targets fall to the play area at a steady rate and it's your job to use the standard three lights to clear as many of these targets as you can before time catches up with you. There are also bonus multipliers that reward you for the different methods you use to advance. All in all, it's pretty fun and it's definitely a highlight to the overall package.
I really liked the easygoing approach Studio Walljump went for in designing Liight. The presentation is attractive with lots of colours showing up on the screen at once, but at the same time there's something structured about it. I did notice some slowdown at times, mostly when I was playing around in the level editor, but thankfully it's not that major. I also thought that having a colour wheel on the bottom right of the screen for easy reference was definitely a good decision. Furthermore, the display is hardly intrusive at all and there's a calming aesthetic in the way everything is presented.
The developers have crafted a memorable puzzle experience that demonstrates creativity with a hint of depth. There are some minor drawbacks but as a whole, it's a solid game supported by great features. With a unique puzzle system, well-executed level sharing capabilities and strong replayability, Liight is a great way to spend $5 on the Wii Shop.
24/30 - Very Good
Gameplay 8/10 - Good concept met with great execution, additional elements add depth to later puzzles, nice incorporation of the musical aspect
Presentation 8/10 - Approached very nicely, colourful and attractive to look at, good layout, slight slowdown does occur, calming aesthetic
Enjoyment 3/5 - Some solutions get you to think outside the box, music component keeps you engaged and motivated, Nonstop Mode is fun to play
Extra Content 5/5 - Two main gameplay options, plenty of puzzles to plow through, custom level sharing through WiiConnect24, great value for the price
Equivalent to a score of 80% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)