Strayed Lights Review: Fight for the Light (PS5)

Strayed Lights is an atmospheric action-adventure game and the first title from Embers studio. Telling its cerebral tale through a sequence of challenging boss battles and stunning environments, Strayed Lights is a delightful experience as you explore the absence of light.

Strayed Lights Review Fight for the Light (PS5)

Strayed Lights is an emotionally charged, action adventure game and is the first title to be developed by Embers. Inspired by the rhythmic fights from the likes of Sekiro, and colour matching elements from 2001’s Ikaruga, the unique combat is challenging yet vital to the beats of the story. With fluid controls, an atmospheric soundtrack and stunning art design, Strayed Lights is a strong debut from the team at Embers. 

Strayed Lights is ready to light up your screens and is available on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and PC for £19.99 ($24.99).

Strayed Lights - Launch Trailer | PS5 & PS4 Games

Story – Journey of Transcendence 

The story of Strayed Lights is told without a moment of dialogue, yet this doesn’t hinder the emotional tale it has to tell. Beginning as a small light surrounded by darkness, you explore the metaphysical world and battle your demons, physically and metaphorically. By defeating enemies your light grows stronger, and the compact combat system also holds weight in Strayed Lights’ narrative. Each boss fight is representative of powerful emotions taking control, and alike battling emotions in the real world, you won’t always succeed first try.

Throughout Strayed Lights you are required to become resilient in your quest for transcendence, helping others in the dark as your light grows stronger and facing demons head on. Or you could just look at the pretty lights, that’s up to you. Strayed Lights hides further details in the surroundings. Other light spirits can be seen, some in a trance, others wandering through the astral realm. Heartfelt moments such as the reality of the luminescent deer moved me as much as the thought provoking narrative.  

Explore the absence of light as you face your demons.

Explore the absence of light as you face your demons.

Gameplay – Flowing and Precise

Undoubtedly working as the base of the game, the combat is complex without being over complicated. Switch between colours to match that of your enemies with L1, parry their attacks with R1. Although you could attack enemies, blocking orange/blue attacks regains health while also filling your energy bar, allowing you to defeat enemies once full. There are also purple powered attacks which cannot be blocked, instead needing you to perform a well-timed dodge. 

Despite the controls being simple to pick up, encountering a duo of enemies can feel overwhelming, especially when they attack in opposite colours. That being said, this feeling is easily parried by making use of the skill upgrades available, acquired with the orbs lingering in the world. Skills include the ability to block any colour for a short period of time, eventually being able to upgrade this to also regain a small amount of health. Learning how and when to use these mechanics is essential for fighting your demons, in particular during boss battles. 

All of the boss battles end in similar fashion; once the energy bar is full, press L2 to trigger a fantastic cinematic with a few QTE style prompts. In contrast to the slightly repetitive finisher, the attacks and styles of the boss fights vary. By analysing individual patterns and move sets, you begin to identify precise moments to parry or dodge. This rhythmic style of combat can take a few attempts to master, your eventual success resulting in a jubilant glow of triumph.

Match the colour of your enemies and block their attacks.

Match the colour of your enemies and block their attacks.

Graphics and Audio – Dreamlike Haze

I found the artstyle and soundtrack mesmerising for the duration of the game. Each environment has its own breathtaking beauty. Through shimmering caves, crepuscular forests and radiant meadows, all settings retain a mystical quality, ensuring plenty of opportunity to use photomode. Emphasising the visual style, composer Austin Wintory (previous works including Journey and Abzu, among many others) has composed another wonderful soundtrack. Flowing as smoothly as your light traversing between battles, every melody complements the present surroundings, solidifying the ethereal qualities of Strayed Lights

Strayed Lights was review on PS5, with a key provided by HomeRun PR.

Strayed Lights is a visually stunning game, displaying a highly polished aesthetic paired with a serene soundtrack. The interpretive story, while only a few hours long, resonated with me; exploring the darkness, defeating demons, growing stronger and wiser with each win. However, the narrative wouldn't work as well if it wasn't for the compact combat, which is the shining light of the game. Responsive, fluid, and tightly packed together, the face-on parry system pushes you forward through the dark.
  • Unique and meaningful combat.
  • Powerful and emotional narrative, without the need of dialogue.
  • Stunning artstyle.
  • Serene soundtrack.
  • Interpretive narrative could leave some players stumbling in the dark.

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