REVIEW – It is the first game from a studio, and it’s surprisingly good, although it’s reminiscent of Ori games in terms of visuals. For example, there’s a slight Journey influence on Strayed Lights, which has one significant flaw. For this reason, it does not deserve a higher rating (which it deserves, but in this aspect, most games outclass it…).
Explore a dark and oneiric world of rampant nature and corrupted cities. Embody a tiny being of light on its path towards awakening. Fight your inner demons and restore your balance.
The great journey
The inspiration for Journey comes from the fact that there is no dialogue in the game, and therefore no easy-to-comprehend, perhaps instant context, but simply going out on your own and exploring the territory that opens up before you. While it may seem a little confusing at first, the narrative of the environment can be very compelling. However, it is still a matter of focusing on the gameplay: you run into opponents quickly and have to defeat them without any appeals. Strayed Lights is not recommended for those who dislike parrying (done by the R1 button on PlayStation), as it is used frequently to charge your bar and unleash a counterattack. However, it’s not worth wasting it either. The experience becomes a rhythmic game, where you must learn your opponent’s attack pattern to strike back at the appropriate time. It leaves plenty of time for
twist to the whole thing (and again, adding a rhythmic layer to the gameplay) is the color (toggle it with the L1 button). You must have the same color as your opponent, and if you’re not careful, you’ll get a purple counterattack in the face, so sometimes you have to sprint back and forth with the dash move. The whole thing has a friendly vibe to it. Perhaps similar to Furi. Of course, there are boss fights that take this entire concept further because their attack patterns are more complex, hence the need to time everything more precisely. Herein (also) lies the relatively high (but not outstanding due to its limitations) rating of Strayed Lights: it’s a joy to experience it all, and it feels good when they finally fall, and our light keeps on burning, but it’s a bit incomprehensible why there are QTE finishing moves. Indeed, the cinematic style comes through, but somehow, the QTE-ing doesn’t fit into the gameplay. The world itself is lovely, and there are side roads off the main route. It almost goes without saying that you can climb up to the white ledges, but the animation could be faster if you were going to a place that is inaccessible from there because the drop might take too long. So Strayed Lights is linear, but not entirely. Metro: Exodus had a similar approach.
The question mark is not because we are in a video game, which has limits, but because there is no set destination, so we can feel free to move around the area, which is worth combing for orbs to improve our skills. So if the problem is that we don’t have enough health, we can expand it, or if we’d instead channel our light beam towards attacking, we can implement that as well, so we can get to the three special attacks. One is a color effect, as you don’t need to change colors to parry, another is a jumping attack, and the third is a stun attack on our opponent. Of course, you can’t use these all the time, every time, and you can only use them for a given number of times, so it’s always worth sparing them.
Even if you go to a different, more elegant-looking region (the areas are easily distinguishable), don’t waste the extraordinary attack on the first opponent, but permanently save it for the bosses. In the meantime, listen to the tunes of Austin Wintory, who also created the soundtrack for Journey (another link to that game). It gives Strayed Lights an excellent, children’s story-like soundscape. The game’s weakest point, mentioned at the beginning, is the length. It’s no joke to say that it can be played through in three hours. If it had been a little longer, say 5-6 hours, it would have made Embers’ debut even more of a big deal. That said, it is not far from, or perhaps has even achieved, the goal of offering an unforgettable experience to the public, which should be inclined to try because that is what can determine the success of a game…
Strayed Lights would have been an eight out of ten at first, but its brevity earns it a very strong seven-and-a-half instead. If you like this genre, feel free to take it as an eight out of ten. The world is pleasing, the audiovisual quality is fair, and there is a good narrative in the setting, but some of the animations didn’t turn out so well, perhaps overstating the importance of parry, but most importantly, it was short. But for the three hours, it is an experience and not a bad one at that.
+ The attractive gameplay
+ The world itself
– Parry, parry, parry
– Some animations are not pretty
Release: April 25, 2023.
Gameplay - 7.2
Graphics - 8.3
Story - 7.8
Music/Audio - 8.2
Ambience - 7.5
It's bright, but in the long run, it might just flicker.
Leave a Reply