Adventure Lamp is a 2D indie puzzle-platformer scheduled for release on PC in Spring 2016. Though the preview is short and fails to showcase any properly interesting puzzles, the potential of this charming little game was made very clear, and is something you should certainly be keeping your eye on for the future.
In Adventure Lamp, you play as Simon – a sentient blue square in a world full of darker, less sentient blue squares and dangerous spiky red things. Trapped in a cave with nothing but his trusty mining helmet (which, even after extensive online research, I can’t be sure is identical to a hard hat), Simon must traverse the cave’s many obstacles to escape back to the surface. Your helmet (the titular Adventure Lamp) is the gimmick around which the game revolves; in that every enemy, button or switch can be engaged by flinging your hat at it, which will always eventually return – in true Indiana Jones fashion – to Simon’s head.
“Adventure Lamp has a lot of potential and is definitely one to keep your eye on”
Let’s face it, hat-throwing isn’t going to generate the same kind of mind-bending puzzles as Fez‘s world rotation or Braid‘s time manipulating mechanics, but that’s no reason to write Adventure Lamp off completely. In the small selection of levels I previewed, there were teases of puzzle elements such as launch pads, strong course-altering winds, and dark zones (your helmet being the only source of light) which could be used for some interesting and creative puzzle design based around the hat-projectiles. The demo unfortunately didn’t contain any puzzles I could really sink my teeth into, but watching Simon happily hop around the platforms carried a lot of charm that made even the easy tutorial levels enjoyable.
While at first it seems like the levels are built almost entirely from dark blue squares, the detail of the game world quickly expands, and the use of new colour palettes and background designs at the start of each chapter effectively creates a feeling of progression and variety – all realised in a distinct cartoony aesthetic.
“Watching Simon happily hop around the platforms carried a lot of charm”
Promises of a central narrative woven into the level design could be the icing on the cake, but in my opinion the game will live or die on its puzzle design. From the demo, Adventure Lamp has a lot of potential and is definitely one to keep your eye on if you’re a fan of puzzle-platformers like Thomas Was Alone or Trine; but the preview did not let me put the hat gimmick to use in any of the really meaty puzzles it allows for. Incidentally, if your game focuses on precise movement for platforming, and also precise aiming for projectiles, do not bind both the movement and aiming controls TO THE SAME THUMBSTICK. AIM WITH THE RIGHT THUMBSTICK AND USE TRIGGER TO THROW OR SOMETHING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.