Linelight is a puzzle game that strips the genre back to its simple and minimalist form. There’s no need to worry about picking up items and putting them together or needing clues. All you have to know is that you control a light that follows a single line with puzzles appearing along this line that need to be solved in order to progress. These vary from incredibly simple affairs that take seconds to some that leave you scratching your head while working out a solution.
Linelight features six different worlds filled with puzzles to solve and each one adds its own element to keep the puzzles fresh. When you first load up the game things feels a bit too easy as you breeze through puzzle after puzzle. In fact all of world one is incredibly easy to get through but the difficulty creeps up slowly the further you go. In each world there are gold and green stars to collect, with the gold ones being easily spotted while the green ones are along hidden paths that you’ll occasionally stumble across.
When it comes to collecting the gold stars you’ll notice some are optional while others are along the main path. With the optional ones you can have a crack at the puzzle they’re linked too, but if you find the puzzle a bit difficult you can move on. Along the main path there is no luxury of skipping forward with the puzzles that require solving. Each puzzle is self contained so there’s no need to go back along the line to find help with the solution. . While some of the puzzles are a little frustrating and seem to be harder than most the vast majority are very well crafted and made to get through as smoothly as possible.
The few puzzles that caused some annoyance along the way did so not because the solution couldn’t be found, but because the solution would require incredibly precise timing to get right. Timing won’t be the only challenge you face as you are not the only light on the line. Across the worlds there are the red lights which move independently and can destroy you, the orange light that moves when you move but can also be forced to move while you stay still at the press of a button, the purple line that has to be pulled along, and the pink clone light that will mimic all of your movements.
Every single one of these lights can act as both a danger or an ally when it comes to advancing along the line. In a way each light has its own personality that you have to get used to. Red will do what it wants and it may align with you occasionally, while pink is the most cautious at times taking a while to make any move forward. Purple has to be forced to move and at times it feels like it is resisting you, while orange looks to you to lead but will betray you at times if you get in its way.
You can’t ignore the way the visuals have been designed, nor can you omit the music in Linelight. The lines glow gently against backgrounds that are quite evocative of the night sky, though there are brief moments when this colour changes to various shades of green, red, and purple. Most of the music is piano based and sounds like a melody you would find in a lullaby, which pairs well with the minimalist styles of Linelight. It helps you keep calm and remain focused on the task at hand, with my recommendation being to wear headphones while playing.
Linelight’s simple design philosophy has managed to spawn one of the freshest puzzle experiences to grace the genre in recent years. The minimalism you see hides well the depth that some of the puzzles require, though the timings for some of them can be a tad too precise. A slight improvement in the behaviour of the AI lights would be welcome too so they are more responsive to the player’s actions. Outside of those issues Linelight is recommended to those who enjoy puzzle games or those seeking something that is bit different to the norm.
Version tested: PS4