REVIEW: A Light Start

Though it’s often dismissed as the sign of an inexperienced developer, ‘simple’ can be an effective selling point to your game. A Light Start (80 MSP) has little to show off, and even less gameplay; the entirely of the game has you (a dot) ferrying energy (also a dot) to your Queen (a Sun), in order to fill some unforeseen lightness quota and brighten the world, or some such metaphorical-ness.

With only a handful of colors / blocks, the minimalist art works surprisingly well, and the procedurally-generated levels alleviate some of the blandness and fatigue that goes along with repeat business and style. Digging your tunnels and scouting for energy moves quickly, albeit it with a convenient limitation (only one bit of energy can be handled at any time). Of course, the whole endeavor would be pedestrian without a fight or threat of demise, and there are some hazards that come with the job.

Enemies dig towards you (at a much-slower pace, naturally) as you work, adding extra tension and tunnel babysitting to the mix. While you can fill in open space to block them off, to do so requires just enough time that you’ll want to leave some breathing room. Water represents another environmental wrinkle, flooding your constructed highways slowly but surely and wiping out everything in its path, including you and the Queen. Placing makeshift dams and / or working around a liquid barrier soon becomes second nature.

All of these things considered, you’ve got yourself the makings of a pretty tough game. And it’s certainly up to the task, making A Light Start a contradictory title. Things most definitely do not play lightly, with trouble literally looming at the start or end of every tunnel. Find yourself cut down by an enemy, and you lose ticks off your current energy progress. Drop to one, and you’re doomed to a restart.

A Light Start - Screen

 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia  …underground.

Of course, you can always pick another map should frustrations mount. A Light Start is essentially limitless, with ten ready-made stages and a level editor to design your own ‘rat in a cage’ simulation. If you like the challenge of random layouts but lack the time and / or energy to build a masterpiece, Quick Play will handle the heavy lifting for you.

The game’s slight yet engaging style, and tougher-than-it-looks difficulty, might turn off some. It’s not incredibly deep, nor does it claim to be. Still, there’s a certain charm (and deceptiveness) to be said of that simplicity, easy to pick up and play around with. So far as tunneler / puzzler hybrids go, A Light Start is a good start.

12 thoughts on “REVIEW: A Light Start”

  1. How the hell I got here? I was gOOgling vaginas and then Im here. Whats up with Tim and gOOgle? Guess is a slow time in indies again, so far Ronin and Astralis are the ones on my to get list, unless a game come out of nowhere and get a leaderboard position without even posting the review (OFDP). This seems like an ok game, a game to get it if you got points but not a game to get points just to get it. But, I have to blame the consumers, not the developers for the lack of good content. I mean, ppl buy boobs and farts, I saw Try Not To Fart on the tops selling of all time, I did not see OFDP on the Top Selling Today. What message are we giving to Silver Dollar? “I dont play with sticks, just fart on me and I will give you money” as strange as its sounds, thats the true. And, that just my professional view as the IndieManwhoreGamer, 40 years of experience in kissing and telling. I think ppl can buy what they want with their money, I just pointing the facts, not the ppl.

    1. You review as many ‘skin’ games as I do, you’re bound to start getting the wrong kind of traffic coming here. There’s always somebody finding their way here via some part of the female anatomy. 🙂

      Add ‘unicorn softcore porn’ to that Google directory after tomorrow, and I’ll have all the angles covered. I swear that’s it, then. I’ll get back on the straight and narrow, reviewing serious games. At least for a little while.

      OFDP not selling well for Silver Dollar probably hurts me as much as it hurts them. That’s the kind of game that XBLIG needs to sell itself to the rest of gaming world. It could always catch on and sell better in the coming months (fingers crossed).

  2. Confounded overheating making me miss this.
    Confounded MS points going kaput making bing rewards ms points set on for expiration.
    Confounded life getting in the way of my gaming habit.
    Confounded time for limiting me so very much.
    Nice review Tim.
    Now to declare war on time itself…

    1. Thank you, sir. And I can completely relate to the lack of free time. Do me a favor and punch Time in the balls for me; never liked that smug bastard. Thinks he owns us all (…and he does).

    2. Time has got to be a she since it has us by our balls all the time! (pa dum cha) So maybe you have to punch it in the vagina instead. Let me know what you find down there Saansilt when you get there!

    3. Ha, yeah Saansilt, bring the debate to a definitive end. I want answers.

      Actually, I noticed that the gender of the big topics (Time, Love, Life, etc.) changes for me every other instance I use them. Maybe I fell back on the ‘Father Time’ tag for this one, though you’re probably right. The evidence all adds up; Time has to be a She. 🙂

    4. if shes a red, I’ve already lost this war.
      Unless she keeps her hair long.

    5. Redheads and declarations of war on things with no physical form? Sounds like an unknown indie band, hipsters, no doubt. Least we’re all getting on at the ground floor, so we can say we started listening to them BEFORE everyone else, before they sold out and went mainstream.

    1. It’s not the best of its kind by any means, but it’s good for a few minutes at a time. Was worried I’d be the only one who liked it. 🙂

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