I like modern platformers that don’t try to over-complicate things too much. It’s why I fell in love with AstroBot’s adventures on the PlayStation and why I also keep finding myself returning to recent indie gems… there’s something so pure about them that relies more on fun level design than unnecessary gimmicks. It’s what made The Lightbringer so appealing to me, with its platforming action that focuses more on satisfying well-timed jumping and simple puzzle-solving making for a fun and old-school experience, all whilst the vibrant 3D landscapes ensure it looks and feels like a modern release.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
The Lightbringer puts players in the role of a young boy who has been challenged to become the titular Lightbringer, meaning he must collect the pure light energy from his surroundings and use it to cleanse a dark corruption that has plagued the world. He’s led on this journey by the spirit of his sister, who narrates the tale and warns him of the dangers ahead. She failed on her mission to prevent the darkness from spreading, so strives to ensure her brother doesn’t suffer the same fate. Interestingly, she guides him through nice poetic verse, which adds a light-hearted vibe to the foreboding tale.
You know, ‘foreboding’ is probably a bit of a strong word, because there’s an air of whimsical vibrancy to The Lightbringer’s world and gameplay. Whilst there are dangers to encounter, there’s also something that feels peaceful about your surroundings. Whether it’s the picturesque landscapes, the folk getting on with their everyday life, or just the charming vibe of the adventure, The Lightbringer never feels as dark as its narrative might imply (and I mean that in a good way).
Gameplay-wise, the game will feel familiar to 3D platforming fans. Players are able to run, jump, and double-jump around the environment, whilst their handy boomerang can help them destroy obstacles blocking their path, grab hard to reach items, or even defeat enemies in their way. There are precise aiming options in place to ensure it’s never difficult to line up shots with your boomerang (and believe me, you’ll need accuracy in the game’s later levels), whilst being able to charge it up to go further ensures almost nothing will remain out of your grasp.
“Players are able to run, jump, and double-jump around the environment, whilst their handy boomerang can help them destroy obstacles blocking their path, grab hard to reach items, or even defeat enemies in their way.”
The aim of each level is to make it to the monolith at the end, though there’s also an emphasis placed on finding all of the collectibles scattered around along the way. Each level has a set amount of green and red crystals to collect, whilst bells can also be rung which rewards the player with a piece of lore – the amount available in a level is clearly displayed, so you’ll always know if you’re missing something. Whilst a lot of these items are in plain view though, others are hidden and will demand a bit of exploration from the player. Sometimes it’ll take a bit of clever jumping between obstacles, sometimes it’ll require a precise throw of the boomerang, whilst other times it might mean rotating the camera carefully to see what’s out of view; either way, there’s something satisfying about grabbing the game’s collectibles and I went out of my way to get as many of them as I could.
It helps that the level design of the game is so good, with each level packed with platforming challenges and some puzzling that offer a fine balance of fun, creativity, and challenge. The Lightbringer can be a little bit guilty of being unoriginal with its design, but the way it blends so many creative ideas together ensures that no level ever gets boring. They’re very expansive too, so players will have to look around carefully to ensure they don’t miss any areas that lie off the beaten path. Admittedly, this could lead to a few instances where I didn’t quite know where I had to go (and if you die you have to start over which is a pain), but it never grew frustrating since exploration felt so rewarding.
“The Lightbringer can be a little bit guilty of being unoriginal with its design, but the way it blends so many creative ideas together ensures that no level ever gets boring.”
Whilst platforming and exploring will take up most of your time in The Lightbringer, there are enemies to be wary of too. A lot of these are creepy little slimes, each of which you’ll have to defeat by whacking their weak spot with your boomerang or simply jumping on them if they’re unprotected – there are a few other enemy types too, though it’s mostly just a case of whacking them with your boomerang. It’s clear that the game didn’t prioritise combat with its design so you shouldn’t expect intricate showdowns throughout levels, but it offers enough to ensure that enemies still pose a threat.
The bosses on the other hand are a bit more creative, with the player having to use their skills carefully to take them out. Don’t get me wrong, they’re never overly challenging and their weak points are normally clearly signposted, but they’ll demand platforming and attacking in equal measure to defeat. They’re fun little encounters, even if they don’t really offer anything that you wouldn’t have seen done before in similar titles in the genre.
Everything comes together nicely to make for a really fun platforming adventure, albeit one that doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel. Its platforming and puzzling is fun, the world is satisfying to explore, and boss encounters offer fun diversions… it gets all of the basics right. It looks pretty too, with the different biomes of each area bringing some variety to the adventure, whilst it performs well on the Nintendo Switch. There were a few little frame rate hitches here and there, but they never occurred in awkward moments or when you’re in the middle of some platforming challenge.
The Lightbringer Summary
The Lightbringer won’t win points for originality, but it doesn’t stop it from being a fun and varied adventure with a vibrant world to explore. I enjoyed tackling all of its platforming challenges and puzzles, whilst there was something addictive about finding all of its collectibles – even IF some kept me looking for some time.
It’s just a really enjoyable game, and whilst it doesn’t try to re-invent the platforming-adventure wheel, The Lightbringer definitely offers more than enough to ensure it’s a fine entry in the genre.
Developer: Rock Square Thunder
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC