With so many games requiring you to have super reflexes, twitch speed that’ll push you to your limits, and a great group of friends in order to get anywhere. It’s refreshing when you can just switch on your gaming machine and relax. For me the puzzle genre, no matter how difficult, allows this to happen. I place on my headphones, turn off my microphone, and allow myself to be absorbed in the games ambience and puzzles. I saw Archaica: The Path Of Light developed and published by Two Mammoths, and thought I really want to try that. This unusual title has you bending light paths in order to power up a coloured monolith. As the game presses on, the difficult rightly increases. A mixture of different mirrors and coloured beams must be manipulated in order to power up the “Lightwell” to move on.
You become a light bearer, where you are given the quest of walking the legendary Path of Light. You navigate a mystical and ancient world, from here you must complete your ultimate goal in order to save mankind from an impending disaster. You are firstly introduced to the “Portal”, this allows you to select all your missions, from 1 of 6 realms. The tutorial area known as the Initiation Ring eases you in gently. All the controls are explained clearly and concisely. You gain a basic understanding of how the main game premise works. Each stage has several collectables in the form of power crystals, and hidden hieroglyphics. In the latter stages the task of finding these items really is a challenge, and the developers have done well to test your logical and spatial understanding, as well as your ability to observe and scan a set area.
The main concept of the game is pretty simple, and for me, that’s what makes it great. You are free to move the mirrors of different shapes and sizes around the map. You must rotate the reflective surface which directs the stream, once you have hit all the monoliths with a steady beam of light, the “Lightwell” will have full power and you can move on. You may be thinking, that doesn’t sound challenging! How difficult can that be? I like to think I’m reasonably good at these types of game, but boy oh boy did the difficulty ramp up quickly. Fortunately, the developers were kind enough to hide power crystals around the level, these enable you to gain hints. If you choose to use them, you may discover the area in which to position a mirror, however, it won’t tell you the direction to place it, or indeed which type to select. So you are given a small step in the right direction. The aforementioned hieroglyphics give you some clarity around some of the world’s mysteries. They are simply a collectable, but they add a nice distraction when you a struggling to solve the problem in front of you.
The puzzles take place across 42 levels, with 65 puzzle boards to solve. There are 6 unique realms to visit; The Initiation Ring, Hills, Desert City, Islands, Crystal Mines, and the Jungle Temple. You will find a number of secret levels if you are able to collect all the key stones. These can be found in specific levels, and you must follow the same gameplay mechanic in order to unlock the item. As well as the “Portal” you can visit the “Totem”. This allows you to view your achievements, but has absolutely no bearing on how the action plays out. It would have been nice if extra hints or powers unlocked as you completed certain achievements. I found that though it was nice to see how you were getting on, ultimately, it was pretty pointless.
A simple and colourful view with a clear User Interface, enables you to focus purely on the action in front of you and finding a solution to the problem at hand. The colour palette was attractive enough, and each of the realms has a unique style to ensure that they stood out from one another. Though the gaming premise is consistent throughout, the look changes slightly, making sure that it doesn’t feel too repetitive. The detail on the latter levels is quite impressive, this makes hunting the elusive collectables even more of a challenge. You can move the camera, but are restricted to not being able to rotate the picture. This made viewing certain areas a struggle, I personally would have liked more freedom in this area.
I’m one of these people that need as little noise as possible when I’m trying to solve any problems. Multitasking isn’t my strong point. I was glad when I discovered that the audio took a back seat, though there is music playing, it simply helps to emphasise the ancient nature of the theme. The sound effects are more offensive, and are very obvious as you move items, and deflect the beam of light. It all sounds rather futuristic, and was at odds with the theme. The developers could have easily toned this down, and I think it would have been more appropriate.
As each level doesn’t have a time scale, you don’t feel particularly rushed. The gameplay is easy to get to grips with, and this was helped by the simplicity of the controls, effectively you can pick up and move items, rotate them, and move the camera. It’s not confusing at all, and you will be pretty happy with it all after the first couple of levels.
At times, Archaica: The Path Of Light is tough to solve, this can be frustrating, and will no doubt put a number of players off. A wide variety of puzzles and levels will keep you wanting to play, but once the game is finished I don’t believe there will be much to come back to try. The use of 3 hints per level, restricts the help that you will receive. I found this can be manipulated by simply remembering the hints, and then resetting the level. You are gifted 3 more hints, and therefore you can rinse and repeat this until you have all the help you need. I know, what’s the point of cheating to victory? Unfortunately, people will do anything to win. Most of the achievements are relatively straightforward, and will be gained as you play normally. I’d say you are looking at approximately 15 hours of game play to complete this title, so you are getting a reasonable return for your outlay when buying it.
A rather challenging puzzle game that’s based around an ancient and mysterious quest, it’ll push you to the limits of your spatial awareness, and problem solving. The simple game mechanic works really well, and though the perspective in which the action takes place is somewhat restrictive, it works for the most part. With a limited replay factor, but a strong first run through I believe that this is one for anyone who wants a game in between main titles, or avid puzzle genre fans. Can you solve the problems by manipulating the beams of light to open the “Lightwell”? Best of luck as this could be a challenge that is too difficult to complete.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Archaica: The Path Of Light Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Replay Value - 6/10
Can you become the Light Bearer and complete the quest of the Path of Light? Start your journey, and manipulate the beams to access the “Lightwell”.
- Challenging puzzles.
- Easy controls.
- Simple game premise.
- Limited view range.
- Puzzle difficulty will put people off.
- Hints can be manipulated to cheat victory.