In Rays of the Light

  One of the great things about reviewing games is the wide variety of games you get to play.  Different genres, an assortment of studios, and all sorts of levels of quality.  I try to avoid researching games that I am going to review, so I can go in with a clean perspective.  In Rays of the Light is one of those games that I went into blind.  Created by the mind behind 7Th Sector, it is a completely different type of game.

  The game begins as you awake in an abandoned building.  The sun shines in through broken windows and you must figure out what is going on.  As you explore the building, you will find memos explaining your situation.  You are in Moscow, at a school, and there has been a war.  Now you must solve a series of puzzles to learn the rest of the story, and save yourself from the situation you have been stuck in.

  It is hard to decide how to categorize this game.  One the one hand there is definitely a puzzle aspect to the game, but on the other, it feels like a walking simulator.  You wander from building to building trying to piece together what has happened and what you have to do.  There is nothing in the game that can actually hurt you, but the atmosphere can get a bit creepy at times.

  The game is filled with gritty visuals.  The graphics are smooth, but there is a gritty quality to them.  Light and dark play a big part of the game with the theme, and it is handled beautifully.  Watching the sunshine through the leaves and the shadows dancing on the ground is pretty cool.  It is a nice respite from wandering the shadows and darkness searching for the answers to your situation.  The soundscape is fairly barren.  There are some songs in the game, but they are very mellow and just above the background noise.  There is a serious attention to detail with the sounds.  As you wander into darkened rooms and turn on lights, you will see roaches scatter.  If you happen to step on the roaches, you will hear them crunching under your feet.

  The game is not difficult, but some of the puzzles will require a bit of thought.  Once you figure everything out, you can speed run the game in about 30 minutes if you ignore the story aspects of the game.  There are multiple endings, so if you want to experience the entire game you will have to play through at least twice.  While a bit surreal at times, it is worth your time to get all the perspectives.

  In Rays of the Light is available now for about $8.  You can pick it up on Xbox, Playstation, or Nintendo Switch.  While not a reflex testing game, it tells a compelling story of survival.  Good for those that enjoy a more casual game, puzzles, or are just looking for a different story, this is one that is worth a play through or two.