I’m not one to judge a book by its cover.
Actually, that’s a lie. I always judge books by their covers. It’s the first thing that you look at on the shelf that makes you pick it up. When it comes to video games, it’s often the same thing. Their game covers and trailers are what makes gamers pick a game off of the shelf and give it a shot.
Lichtspeer, a new game from Polish developers Lichthund, gives a great first impression from its trailer. Flashy lights, big words, practically a thousand uses of the world “das” – talk about a way to get someone’s attention. I’ll have to admit I was worried that the trailer might have hyped up the game too much but it was exactly as expected. Lichtspeer is a hilarious lightspear-throwing simulator with much more to it than what meets the hipster ice giant’s eye.
At this point you may be asking yourself, “But what does ‘lightspear-throwing simulator’ even mean?” Well, wonder no more. For the entirety of the game you play as either Hans or Helga and it is your job – no, your duty – to throw brightly glowing spears at a variety of enemies in order to please the lichtgods. From evil storm dwarfs to das walrus to FIIIIISH, the lichtgods command you to follow their whim and kill every creature that approaches you. Each level you gain points for each kill, with extra points for headshots and combos until you’ve vanquished all of your foes.
The game mechanics for Lichtspeer are really simple. On PC, it’s a case of holding down the right mouse button to aim your spear and let go to launch the spear at your enemies. You can also quickly tap ‘A’ after launching your spear to split it into three for a chance to hit more than one enemy. It’s as simple as that. Although this does get repetitive at times, there’s tons of ways to upgrade your abilities to take on the tougher enemies and keep things exciting. You can get a shield that shows up for a few seconds keeping you from getting hit. You can also get a lichtray, lichthammar, and licht drones which are all upgrades to make your spear even more powerful. Lichtspeer’s easy-to-learn mechanics means that anyone interested in impaling a wurst zombie or a couple of penguin vikings can pick it up and enjoy it without having to worry about skill level. Some levels can get very difficult and frustrating but that always makes it much more satisfying when you finally beat it.
Lichtspeer is an audiovisual delight; the awesome soundtrack from Marcin Sonnenberg complements the game perfectly with its great techno sounds, and the simple yet striking artwork almost looks like it is made of origami carefully crafted by the hands of its designers. Even with all of these great things, the place where Lichtspeer shone most for me was in its ingenious boss battles. The boss battles play like a lot of side-scroller games where the boss has a specific weak spot you’ll need to exploit in order to beat it. It reminded me a lot of many of the boss battles from the LittleBigPlanet series. You’ll likely have to throw your spear all over the place to find the boss’s weak spot but once you do, the rest of the battle should be pretty straightforward. Beating the bosses may take a few tries as they get more difficult as you progress but each one is incredibly unique and really entertaining to play through.
Despite having so many great things going for it, Lichtspeer‘s one major downfall is its repetitiveness. I found it hard to sit down and play more than one level of the game at a time because each level is so similar. The setting and enemies may change but when it boils down to it, all you’re doing for the entire game is throwing spears. It was definitely exciting when the game changed from only throwing the spear to the right to being able to flip around to throw it to your left, but this simply added a difficult mechanic that I wasn’t that fond of. More often than not when I had to quickly turn around by flicking the mouse to the left, my character wouldn’t move where I wanted her to. It became very frustrating very quickly and felt less and less worth it to keep going because of this.
That being said, I still can’t help but recommend Lichtspeer due to its really fun concept, music, design, and easy to learn controls. If you’re not convinced, just watch their trailer and I’m sure that you will be. It’s a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it gave me quite a few laughs along the way. Pick it up if you’re looking for something casual, hilarious, and fun – the lichtgods demand it!