Flood of Light is a puzzle game by developers Irisloft and is set in an abandoned city which is submerged in water. You play as a mysterious girl wearing a ghostly white raincoat who has the power to control small orbs of light. The game is structured around completing levels, the goal is finding the truth at the heart of the city. As you complete each level you find out more about how the city met its watery demise and also learn more about the young girl’s past and her powers. It's a quietly elegant game with stylish graphics and interesting puzzle mechanics.
The game begins with the girl on the roof of a building, the other tall skyscrapers looming in the distance drenched in rain. The game’s narrative is told mainly through the cities terminals which contain the entries of Dr. S. He describes that the City if Hope has been evacuated due to the never ending rainfall which has flooded the city. Scientists tried to counter the rain with the creation of ‘Sun Light Posts’ designed to drain the water but the rain was never ending and the posts were using up all the cities’ energy. As the only person left it's up to this young girl and her powers to light these posts and help drain the water from Hope City.
There are several interesting mysteries at work in Flood of Light that keep the player guessing until the end. As you continue through the game’s levels more is revealed about the cities’ past, the never-ending rain and why this young girl has the power to control light. The levels are divided into eight parts of the city from the top rooftops to the lower streets. The beautiful Peach Flower Garden lies at the top of the building, to the railways and hotels in the middle tier and the further down into the factories and laboratories. Each part reveals more and more secrets about the girl and her connection to the city. When she lights the special Sun Light Posts the water decreases in the level and she can move forward, helping the city and moving closer to the building's basement where the truth lies.
To further develop the story there are also abandoned Robots that talk of a ‘revelation code’, a prophecy of a ‘chosen one’ saving the city. This individual fits the description of the girl but is there more to the prophecy? Flood of Light keeps intriguing the player throughout the entire game only hinting at little things and pacing its story beautifully. This is until towards the end when you finally get to the basement of the building, everything falls into place and you walk through to the final area and…not a lot happens. The build up is emphasized so much that the climax is unfortunately underwhelming. This was a little disappointing but it didn’t stop the whole narrative and experience from being well paced and intriguing. It just didn’t have a punch at the end, which could possibly be a creative choice since Flood of Light is a quiet and gentle game. Even so, it would have benefited the game in many ways if there was a final cut-scene or closure to the game.
Another small issue is the game’s translation errors. In some of the diary entries and within the Robot’s speech there are several grammatical mistakes. Fair enough if it's only a few but there are a few too many. Some are easy to get over like saying something is singular instead of plural but in the first couple of diary entries some of the story exposition is hard to understand. It's not a major issue and you can still get the main narrative but there are smaller details that get lost. This issue has been raised on the game’s Steam forums so hopefully, it should be addressed and sorted soon.
The puzzles in Flood of Light involve moving platforms, activating switches and opening doors to complete levels which are pretty standard in puzzle games. However, the way that the game uses the girl’s power of controlling light orbs in interesting and unique. Holding the left mouse button the girl can absorb light from lampposts and then by clicking the right mouse key she can move the orbs into switches that manipulate parts of the level. There are a limited number of energy orbs on each level and the order you use and distribute them is the key to solving the puzzles. To reach a switch that is high up you can connect different lamps and switches through the linking of several orbs.
Sounds simple enough, but there are a few rules that get the brain gears turning. When the girl makes a connection, all the orbs in her possession are all used at once with the surplus orbs being left hanging at the end of the chain. The difficulty goes up when the level demands that the exact number of orbs be used with no extras, meaning that the order you place the light orbs in particular lamps is vital. There are some really tricky puzzles that stand out but the game never makes the difficulty feel unfair and the learning curve is spot on.
To change it up, more mechanics are introduced throughout the game to keep it interesting and if you really want a challenge you could attempt to get a high ‘S’ grade at the end of each chapter. The grades have three goals you have to hit; talking to all the robots on that level, a step count you must be under and lighting special ‘wick’ lamps. Looking at some of the placements of those wicks look fiendishly difficult, but collecting them all unlocks a secret ending.These grades are fun for a challenge and re-playability and aren’t burden if the player just wants a single playthrough.
gRAPHICS AND AUDIO
The visuals are coupled by a gentle piano accompaniment and sometimes the piano stops altogether.The soundtrack has twelve of these piano solos and they are delicate and full of sadness. It's the music that gets across that what happened to the city is an epic tragedy but there is a hint of hope that lies within the young girl. It adds a feeling of melancholy to the atmosphere and the minimal music and movement make the city feel like it really is abandoned.
|+ Interesting, futuristic story||– Underwhelming ending|
|+ Elegant visuals and gentle music||– Translation errors|
|+ Relaxing puzzles and atmosphere|