We’ve only spent a short amount of time with Strayed Lights so far, but we can tell you one thing for sure: it’s absolutely beautiful.
This is the first game from Embers, a studio based in Strasbourg and founded in 2019, but it doesn’t feel like a “first game”. It’s clear the team has a lot of talent and passion, and in Strayed Lights, it’s bringing something rather unique to life. This action adventure game is unlike anything we’ve played before, and we can’t wait to see more.
The rather dramatic opening to Strayed Lights, which we’ve had access to via an early hands-on preview, puts us in the shoes of a small, glowing child. Unsteady on its feet, it runs through a dark and mysterious landscape – eventually coming face to face with a dark presence. The small child morphs into a fully-grown being, and its light is taken away, replaced with darkness. It’s dramatic and somewhat moving – but sets the scene for the game that awaits.
It’s at this point that we were introduced to Strayed Lights‘ combat: a system that relies heavily on dodging and parrying. If you’re not hot on well-timed manoeuvres, you might find it a little tricky; you can land straight hits, but to truly succeed, you need to match your opponents’ stance and perfectly deflect its incoming attack. You see, your character has two states you can toggle through with the push of a button: one where it glows hot with red energy, and another of blue energy. The enemies you face have the same, and you’ll need to match their colour. If they glow purple – a state you cannot match – you simply need to dodge.
Nailing combat in Strayed Lights, then, may take practice for some. But defeating an opponent via a string of perfect parries and dodges feels incredible. Perform enough parries, and you’ll fill up an energy meter, at which point you can unleash a deadly attack, showing your foe who is truly in charge.
There’s more than just combat here, though. It feels like a large part of Strayed Lights, but you’re also presented with a gorgeous world to explore. We only sampled a small part of it, but we’re excited to see what other environments await. This is a game packed with colour, where light and shadows are used to great effect. It’s otherworldly, and we dig it.
The gorgeous soundtrack deserves a mention, too. It’s composed by Austin Wintory, whose name you may recognise from the likes of Journey and Abzu, amongst many others. He’s one of the best in the business, and so you know Strayed Lights‘ music is in excellent hands here.
Our time with Strayed Lights was short, and so we’re left with a lot of unknowns: how the game’s narrative might develop, whether combat will introduce new mechanics as we move forward, and how much world there actually is to explore – amongst other things. But one thing is for sure: we’re looking forward to finding the answers out for ourselves. Because if we can take one thing away from this preview, it’s that Strayed Lights is certainly one to watch.
Strayed Lights is coming to PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC this spring.