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Flood of Light Review

Puzzler Flood of Light first released on mobile, landed on Steam in 2017, and is now available on Nintendo Switch.

Flood of Light‘s move to Nintendo Switch feels like it could’ve, and maybe should’ve, been done sooner. Its PC version released a couple of months after the Switch came out, and it seems strange to me that it took over a year to port it to the Switch. Developer Irisloft is a small team, though, and I give it credit for getting here. I played the full game in handheld mode as the touch screen was useful, but towards the end there were some control issues that made it difficult to complete levels.

What you get in Flood of Light is a casual puzzle game set in Hope City, a drenched, submerged city. You play as a strange girl dressed in a white raincoat, and your task is to illuminate the city in order to reduce the water level, ergo making more of the city habitable. As the girl, you move light between yourself and lamps or monuments; illuminating some lamps will open doors, and illuminating monuments will help lower the waterline.

Immersive city

Some of Flood of Light‘s levels are quite simple in their visual design, but the rain effects paired with the city views give a rather grand sense of scale to your journey. There’s a rather peaceful atmosphere to boot, which altogether makes for an aesthetically pleasing game. I’d definitely recommend playing Flood of Light in docked mode; as beneficial as it was to have a touchscreen, the visuals beg for a bigger screen, and the ability to hear the game’s music through a decent set of speakers will undoubtedly add something to the journey.

The most glaring fault with Flood of Light is its translation. The game’s backstory – how Hope City became fully submerged – is given to the player through messages as they progress through the game. Reading them can be a bit challenging thanks to poor translation that reads largely as broken English. Some sentences need to be read a second time to get a grasp of what it’s trying to say. It was only in the last few messages I begun to understand what was happening before the player enters the world.

Flood of Light attempts to add a little longevity to its levels by introducing collectibles. One type of collectible is the wick, a special type of lamp that will add to your collection if you leave it lit. There are 49 of these throughout the game, and given that Irisloft mentions a “true ending”, I imagine collecting all the wicks will be required for that. For me, it wasn’t long before I realised I wasn’t fussed enough to try and collect them all. The other supposed collectibles are the conversations you can have with robots you repair. The translation issue pops up here, but they’re quirky at the very least, and add more of an idea how Hope City was evacuated and the backstory behind the whole event.

Touch screen tangles

Mechanically, it’s easy to grasp Flood of Light‘s main concept, but there were moments that made me feel insurmountably stupid. There was a mechanic in moving the lights from lamp to lamp that I kept forgetting was there. But once I’d used it a few times, I started to notice the simplistic but effective design in the puzzles. The added difficulty in how yellow lights turn blue if interacting with blue lights adds even more layers to the puzzle solving.

On later levels, however, the Switch’s controls did become an issue. At one point, I had to press both bumpers, hold Y, and touch and drag the touch screen all at the same time. It was seemingly the only way to take a light to move an object, put it down somewhere else, and move a light from another lamp, all in quick succession. The analogue stick movement speed revealed itself as too slow for those last levels when speed becomes more apparent. The touch screen helped a lot there, so in docked mode I’m not even sure if those levels would even be possible.

At £4.49 on Switch or just £2.79 on Steam, Flood of Light could suit you well. It’s the sort of game I can imagine myself playing in quiet downtime while waiting for something else. The control issues on Switch and poor translation are bothersome, but are potentially fixable should Irisloft decide to patch the game. Still, Flood of Light is an engaging puzzle game with a great atmosphere and relaxing soundtrack. There’s enough difficulty in it to satisfy those looking for a challenge, and the well-designed puzzles should satisfy most fans of the genre.

Flood of Light is available on PC and Switch. We reviewed the Switch version.

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