Lost Light Review (iOS)
Lost Light is a numerical puzzle game where you must deconstruct tiles as more start filling up the screen in order to help save a forest. While there have been many grid-based puzzle titles forcing you to eliminate rows of squares for as long as you can hold out, Lost Light might have just enough of Disney's signature charm to help it stand out from its similarly-playing cohorts. Be prepared to start recognizing numerical patterns and undergoing quick-thinking in order to help stop a forest from being filled up with blocks.
Lost Light's puzzle mechanics are fairly simple -- the top of your screen will show what kind of grid-pattern you need to create on the lower part of the screen. The bottom of the screen is filled with rows of tiles (eight tiles across each row) each with a number inside it. Your goal is to drag your finger across multiple tiles until their added summation matches the number at the top of the screen. For example, if you have the number three at the top of the screen, you must drag your finger through a set of tiles adding up to three total (such as three single tiles with a value of one in each). On top of that, you would have to connect three lines together, with each line consisting of a summation of three.
While this seems rather simplistic, tension is built through the inclusion of a time limit, tiles you can’t swipe through, tile values that are too high to use and how varied the actual rows of numbers can become. Meeting the quota of the target number will result in a new target number appearing after it, which also adds to the frenzy of having multiple target numbers to reach in a relatively short amount of time. Swiped lines used for reaching target quotas eventually disappear, but new tiles will continue to steadily rise from the screen's bottom. During the first dozen or so levels, each of these factors play relatively small roles, but things start to get hectic once everything piles on top of each other.
In terms of its presentation, Lost Light could have done much better, especially when compared to most other grid-based puzzle titles. Considering that this is a Disney title, I was expecting a much higher level of quality in terms of its graphics. Unlike the modern classic Lumines for the PlayStation Portable, and the lesser-known Block Block Block (which are both excellent, tile-based puzzle titles), Lost Light is rather lackluster in terms of its aesthetics. The backgrounds of each level remain stagnant, occasionally changing for a few different tree designs or silhouettes of animals hiding in the dark. The most insipid (and disappointing) aspect of Lost Light's graphics comes in the form of the tiles themselves. You would expect that Disney would try to make things colorful, have the tiles glow and feature amazing looking tile-deletion animations. Instead, the colors of these tiles blend far too much into each background, resulting in an overwhelming sense of blandness after a while. Even the sparkle animation which occurs whenever a line is deleted looks like it was lackadaisically done.
Unlike its stale graphics, there is a ton of variety featured in Lost Light to keep things fairly entertaining. Lost Light's game modes focuses in on specific aspects of the gameplay in order to create custom matches, such as trying to outlast the clock or clearing through as many target numbers as possible in a short, allotted time. Lost Light also throws in distinct three power-ups to help you clear each puzzle, such as a pause on the timer, a number-changer for the values of specific tiles and a bomb that destroys a group of blocks. In order to keep things interesting, all three power-up types reside on the same cooldown, which forces you to use your power-ups strategically, use the best one for the situation at hand and keeps things challenging.
A major complaint should be noted that selecting blocks can sometimes be extremely difficult when playing on a smartphone. There have been many times where I was trying to race against the clock and lost simply due to the fact that I had selected tiles that I did not intend on selecting. Lost Light had no problems playing on an iPad, but playing on an iPhone became frustrating during its advanced levels where I would end up frequently selecting tiles I did not want to use at all.
While the puzzle mechanics of Lost Light are intriguing and thought-provoking, its overall presentation was extremely lackluster, especially for a Disney title. Disney titles tend to be a lot more colorful, sound better and feel more magical compared to the Lost Light's presentation. Since it's Disney, most people would think that this puzzler is aimed for a younger audience, but the intricacies of its levels soon alienate lesser-developed minds after about a dozen levels into Lost Light's progression. Despite its tepid graphics and smartphone control issue, Lost Light is definitely a brainteaser that can keep most puzzle fans occupied for quite sometime. Unfortunately, its overall presentation was rather lacking and mental addition while swiping a finger on a dull-looking screen can get boring after a while.
This review was completed with a purchased copy of Lost Light for iOS.