Editor: Diane Hutchinson Editor@girlgamersuk.com

Candle: The Power Of The Flame

Posted by GG Goblin On July - 31 - 2018

Bringing light to the darkness.

 
Puzzle platformers are plentiful across all platforms, even the relatively young Nintendo Switch, so a new game in the genre has to stand out from the rest to be noticed. Teku Studios’ Candle: The Power of the Flame makes its mark by offering the most beautiful visuals that I have seen in a game in a long time, but will that be enough to make the game interesting to the puzzle platformer hungry gaming audience?

 
candlepower1 (Copy)

 
So, let’s get this out of the way. Candle: The Power of the Flame is stunning to look at. My appreciation of art is limited to what I like, but I can’t imagine anyone not being completely enthralled by the way Candle looks. While we have seen hand drawn art in video games before, and even watercolour-based art as seen here in Candle, I don’t recall ever before seeing it done to such an impressive level. The layered environments that make up the levels through which the hero travels have such immense character and all of the imperfections that come from a hand painted medium that hasn’t been touched up digitally. Teku, the main character, and all of his supporting cast are equally impressive in their watercolour form. No matter how the gameplay plays out, there is a certain amount of joy from just exploring the game to see what the next scene will be, which is an achievement for any game. It’s just beautiful.

 
But gamers don’t generally buy games just to look at something pretty. They also want some substance, maybe even a story if they are lucky. Candle doesn’t disappoint in this respect, with a fairly enjoyable tribal tale. Our hero Teku, after an attack from the evil Wakcha tribe, sets off to try and and get the shaman back. It’s not that deep, but there is a great cast of interesting characters that Teku will interact with along the way, giving the story more depth. And besides, Teku himself is such an interesting character in that he is the tribe’s Light Guide, which means that he has had his hand removed and replaced with a candle. Yeah, now the title makes sense.

 
candlepower2 (Copy)

 
This ignited hand gives substance to many of the puzzles in the game, as the player may need to use the fire for various solutions, or extinguish the flame in order to hide and then reignite it from one of the various points along the way. It’s a flame, which also may mean trying to keep it dry, which is tough when having to travel through a waterfall. But this is all part of the puzzle nature of the game. It is not all about the flame though, as many puzzles will involve interacting with objects in the environment, some of which can be incredibly difficult to spot, especially on the smaller Switch screen. Missing an item or a hidden area can lead to the player having to backtrack and search everywhere for a solution down the line, which can be a little frustrating but is par for the course in games of this difficulty. Candle is a tough game, and for more reasons than the tricky puzzles, but there is a hint system available through the simple press of a button. This would be great, but the hints given are not always in any way helpful, which will disappoint the more casual players. Hardcore puzzle players will be happy with pulling their hair out as they back track, looking for something, if they have any hair left, that is.

 
So, the puzzles can be tricky, which many gamers will appreciate. But there is also the platforming element, which unfortunately is a bit more hit and miss. Teku’s movement is not particularly smooth, and his jumping in no way precise. It almost feels like his movement has been based around the idea that he is carrying a lit candle, trying not to blow the flame out or drip hot wax upon himself. Whatever the reason, it does make for some frustrating platforming, and more than a few unfair deaths. The good news is that the checkpoint system is generous, and so even when dying unfairly, very little progress was lost.

 
candlepower3 (Copy)

 
Candle may have a few problems in the platforming department, and the puzzles can be frustratingly tricky at times. But there is nothing here that dulls the light from the games’ gorgeous visual style. Candle is a beautiful game that is enjoyable to play, despite the little problems. If you are in the market for a new puzzle platformer on Switch, cast your light in the direction of Candle: The Power of the Flame.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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