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Review: Roguelight

At a Glance

ESRB Rating: NR - Not Rated
My Rating: Ages 6 and up
Genre: Platformer
License: Donationware
Release Year: 2014
Review Published On: January 15, 2017
Played on: Martha

Available from:

Itch.IO

Save System:

Game saves when you leave the store (not when you QUIT at the store, when you return to the level from the store).

Summary of
Major Issues:

There is some mild violence, as you'll be shooting various monsters with your flaming arrows. However, nothing is graphically depicted, so this isn't much of a concern.

Screenshots

[view screenshot]
Going deeper into the darkness

[view screenshot]
Facing off with a flying skeleton

[view screenshot]
Waiting from a safe distance



Game Overview

This game's name is an amusing little pun on a type of video game. Called Roguelikes, these are usually fairly hard fantasy games featuring randomly generated worlds and a form of permadeath, both of which also appear in Roguelight.

The title is more than a pun however. In this game, light is very rare, making every light source you have very valuable. Your main light source is also your primary weapon: fiery arrows. When you ready an arrow, your character will automatically lite it, creating a large glow around you. But it's not a good idea to leave an arrow notched: they slowly burn out, ultimately giving you a small window where they are useful. An alternative is to fire an arrow into a hanging lantern, as this will lite the lantern and reflect the arrow someplace new.

Eventually though, you'll run low on arrows and succumb to the dangers hidden by the omnipresent darkness. When this happens, you're taken to the store where you can spend any coins you found on upgrades. Each upgrade tips the game ever more slightly in your favor, and this allows your future trips to reach deeper and deeper into the depths below.

Since the average romp through the dungeon lasts only a few minutes at best, this is game is well suited for those times when you need a little break. The simple graphics and sound add to the charm as well!

Points of Interest

Small palette, large tileset
Roguelight uses a very limited palette, but it does make the most of it. For example, the farther away from a light source something is, the more it will appear as a blotchy teal rather than the brighter and more detailed yellow and green. Additionally, there is a lot of different possible decorations and floor designs, making the place feel like a proper ruin.
Time to be afraid of the dark
It can be unexpectedly tense when you've made it far down in the dungeon and start running low on arrows. You'll reach a point where you don't want to light them and use them up, but at the same time you need to use them to see where you're going and defend yourself from the monsters lurking about. In the darkest areas, you can't even see your character!
With greater power comes longer games and more treasure
Upgrades make it easier to survive or easier to gather lots of coins. The more upgrades you buy, the more you'll get out of every trip. For example, upgrades let you carry more arrows, make them brighter or increase the amount of the damage you can handle before dying.

There's no limit to the number of times you can enter the ruins -- something that's rather important considering how frequently you're gonna die. That said, nothing feels cheap or unfair. Every death could have been avoided with a little more care or careful use of your arrows.
That's about it
This game is very simple, down to there being only one environment. This can get repetitive after a while, but for what it's worth, it's pretty fun for a free game. While it might not be for everyone, it's certainly better than some of the other games out there.

Concerns and Issues

Permadeath
This game revolves around a form of permadeath. When you die, that's it. The world you were exploring is gone. You can spend any of the coins you found in the shop, but unspent coins will disappear as soon as you start the next round. Upgrades are kept between rounds however, allowing you to gradually become stronger.
Mild violence
You face various monsters in the depths. These include flying skeletons and cloaked figures, both of whom you'll need to shoot with your arrows. Touching any of them or any of the spike traps scattered about will hurt you. When you can't take any more damage, you'll fall to the floor with a slightly unsettling thud.