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Burning a Bright Flame: Candlelight 2.0 Demo Impressions

Candlelight

I’ve played many platformers over the years, but never as an actual candle – until Candlelight, that is. Not only does this put an incredibly original spin on the genre as a whole, but as it turns out, it’s also a lot of fun! While Pixel Maverick Games work hard on getting the game ready for launch later this year, here’s my take on the updated demo.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it initially, but it didn’t take long before I realized just how bright this particular candle could (literally) burn. While it may seem like a simple platformer at first glance, what makes it stand out is how polished everything is and the mechanics in play. Making a platformer with a character that simply looks as a candle isn’t too difficult, but tweaking everything so the player actually feels like they’re playing as one, well, that’s definitely a bit more complicated, yet I do believe that this game has nailed it.

As you begin your journey as a candle with no name (I’m sure Disney fans have a name for it, though), your abilities are limited to moving and jumping, but it’s not long before access to throwing fireballs is granted and this move is used in quite a few ways – including lighting out-of-reach candles and… TNT! Your wax can only take so much abuse however, so do be careful or you might end up extinguished long before the demo is over. Previously, death meant losing a single life – now, each casualty will simply be deducted from your post-level score instead.

Much as I appreciate a challenge, I found this to be a huge improvement over the initial way of dealing with falling into lava or burning out. In my books, finite lives belong in arcade games and this is certainly not one such, with its emphasis on casual exploration and puzzle solving. Not that your search for a way to bring life (and light) back to the land is without danger, though, for even with unlimited lives, your health (wax) is still quite limited. Hint: Steer clear of wind, rain and all the other things that are more than capable of putting out fire.

Another important change over the previous demo, is that the candle no longer melts automatically, which means you can take your time and play at your own pace instead of feeling a sense of urgency. Certain actions, like burning a brighter flame for various purposes or shooting fireballs, will still melt your wax though, so keep that in mind before you start blasting everything in sight. Burning out and respawning at checkpoints doesn’t reset the level though, but it will impact your overall score, which in turn determines your completion rating.

How many idols you’ve recovered and if you’ve found – and bested – the challenge area, also has an impact on whether you’ll get one, two or the magical three stars, so there’s plenty to do for this little candle. What? The challenge area? Well, surely you don’t expect me to reveal everything! Instead, why don’t you go play the web-based demo right now? Chances are you won’t be disappointed.

Candlelight Prototype Story #1

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