Don’t take my word as gospel, but I think Candlelight could actually be something brilliant, and it took watching the game’s trailer for me to realize this. Previously, the only thing I had on the game was a short description and some screenshots. And for some odd reason, Candlelight doesn’t really come out all too well in screenshots. The backgrounds look rough and too simple to make the game stand out above the gazillion other platformers out there. And at this time I was still at odds with the idea of controlling a candle, but that’s because I wasn’t thinking of the possibilities, and instead just saw another silly character the developer has created to desperately be different in the genre.
“After a series of catastrophic events extinguish all candles in the land, a lone surviving candle sets out on a most important adventure to bring light back to the land.”
But it’s a candle! How vulnerable is a candle?! The answer is very. Imagine being a candle, just for a minute – your wax is dripping down your body. You melt as the flame – the very thing you were created to host – is destroying your life slowly. But it’s also the only thing keeping you alive in this hostile world, so you have to safeguard it, avoiding water, wind and earth as they risk extinguishing you. The set-up is pretty typical of the genre as it’s arguably about vulnerability and avoiding dangerous obstacles. So now I’ve decided that there’s plenty of room for a candle in the classic platformer character roster. And wait until you see how the game looks in the trailer, won’t you?
The above screenshot induced a chortle in me. What the hell kind of business does a candle have in investigating a treasure chest? What does it expect to find exactly – more wax? Frankly, I don’t quite care to actually receive an answer to that; I’d rather just let it be and enjoy the amusing scenario as it takes place in front of my amused face. So as you can tell, my view of Candlelight has changed rather drastically from when I first heard about it, and now I shall give you the reasons as to why that’s the case.
This whole vulnerability thing – Meat Boy had it and really ran with it, and I’d argue that a candle is even weaker than a fleshy kid in a salt factory. That’s just pain; a candle could find itself in a gust of wind and that’s it; life’s over! In Candlelight, there’s plenty of hazards that we’re going to have to avoid, and all of them are so fitting with what the game should be. Obviously, wind is a big one, but there’s also deadly rain clouds that linger above, lava that will cause that wax to melt a hell of a lot quicker, and then the usual array of crumbling and moving platforms to send you off to your doom. There’s also TNT barrels that you can accidentally light and will have to scarper quickly before you meet a messy end. There’s something about the way it all kind of slots together and makes sense to the game’s story that appeals to me.
“Will the candle’s life be extinguished before the journey is complete? Only you can help determine this land’s fate!”
Then, the last thing that really reached out to me about Candlelight that made me gawp a little is the trailer. A game like this should have a good lighting system, and that’s exactly what Candlelight has. Watch the trailer below and see how the wobbly, bouncing candle casts light all over the environments. The animations are smooth; the huge shadows over the trees and insides of caves caused by the frantic movement of the flame looks great. Plus, I may now want to get a pet candle that I’d light every day and stub out before it begins to melt big time. That’s a very odd thing, and I’m fond of such weird thoughts, and that one commands that thanks are given to Candlelight.