Linelight Review For PS4

Posted February 6, 2017 by Josh Brant in Video Games

Developer: My Dog Zorro

Publisher: Brett Taylor Interactive

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), PC

Linelight, the first game from developer My Dog Zorro, is a minimalist puzzler which tasks the player with moving a small white line named “Dash” through multicolored lined pathways, similar to something like a basic circuit board. While this may sound boring, Linelight is a true showcase of meditative bliss and clever approaches to the puzzle genre, filled with challenges which will test your brainpower to its limit.

Simple By Design, Deep In Execution

Linelight is intuitively played by controlling a light which moves along a line. As stated above, the stages are laid out like circuit diagrams where activating switches can open doors or make lines move to different locations. As the campaign progresses, puzzles get incrementally more complex to the point where you must solve puzzles which involve many different mechanics. You will eventually have to outrun enemy lights which either move on their own or in tandem with you, push and pull lights with magnetic fields, extend your light at certain terminals, and trick enemy lights to crash into walls.

Fortunately, the learning curve is implemented in such a gradual and intuitive way that you will never be left with the inability to know how to progress. On top of this, the stages are cleverly crafted in which the first half of each has you solve puzzles solo while the second half forces you to both run from and take advantage of an ever-present enemy light. The variety of mechanics and perfectly-paced progression make Linelight addictive and easy to pick up and play.

There are cleverly laid surprises and moments of pleasure to be had, like when you realize the line you’re avoiding in one section is to become your necessary companion in the next, the two of you working together to get through paths and gates, triggering moving sections to align for you and vice-versa, until your paths cross once more and you attempt to bond. The game works best in these moments, but the rest are still lovingly crafted. There is a good mix of puzzles being easy enough to breeze through and others which will confound you, but luckily never to the point of frustration. The zen-like approach ensures when discovering the solution the accompanying highs feel greatly satisfying much like what the best puzzle games offer.

Puzzle solving is not the only course of action present in Linelight. Within its six worlds of interconnected puzzles are collectible gems, some of which you find inconsequentially as you move from one puzzle to the next and others which hide along hidden paths. You can find these secret trails by pushing past perceived boundaries, which can sometimes occur due to exploring every line as you rush to move your light around a given puzzle. Rather than coming to a stop at the end of a line, you will unexpectedly continue onward and meet a new, more challenging test. If you can successfully complete these trials, you will gain a different-colored gem and maybe even a newfound level of pride.

Genius Intentions

The main highlight of exploring Linelight’s world is how all is presented so splendidly. The game glows in different color hues of purple, blue, and green backgrounds gently drifting, lights and shapes bobbing about, while the lines themselves glow to stand out. Levels draw themselves in as you approach them, each connected to the last such that you could backtrack were you to feel the need, possibly to collect a missed diamond, building up into elaborate networks for each of the worlds. It creates a visually pleasing atmosphere, ideal for exploring its engaging challenges.

On top of its pleasing visuals, another note which separates Linelight from other puzzlers is the soundtrack. The music ranges between  smooth piano interludes to lulling ambiance which always feels in place. The subtle beats and upbeat melodies help soothe the soul during the most difficult puzzles and never to the point of frustration, due to the ease of restarting a level no matter how many times you feel tripped up.

Unfortunately, there isn’t anything to do after you complete the entire game and find all the stars. It would have been nice to have leaderboards where you can compare how long each stage took you to beat or a challenge mode with online rankings. Instead, all you can do after you beat it is start from the beginning and play it all again. Even solved puzzles remain solved which makes navigating through the worlds easier, but it also means to experience this all again you have to start a new save file.

Linelight may not look like much but don’t let this sleek/peaceful puzzler pass you by. While you can easily make it through Linelight in a day or two, it is perfect palette cleanser to take a break from the massive AAA experiences we are so accustomed to. This isn’t going to be the eye-opening experience of say the Witness, but for a cleverly compacted escape from the more stressful titles, this is an excellent choice for only $10.

About the Author

Josh Brant

I love God, my family, friends, sports, and the greatest hobby of all: video games! You can reach me on twitter @minusthebrant.