As far as Indie games are concerned, many of them have leaned towards the retro aesthetic in recent years since the inception of the ID Xbox Program. Occasionally we will receive a game that has had a lot of love invested into the development, and one such game is Candle: The Power of Flame. It may look pretty on the outside,but does the game provide more substance? Let's find out.
Upon loading the game and letting the splash screens do their thing, one thing that struck me was the soundtrack that accompanied the loading times. I swore blind that it would have suited the iconic point and click Monkey Island games. So suffice to say, Candle has some absolutely beautiful music from the word go, which is always a good sign. Not once did this soundtrack let up when ever the music played.
Moving on, we are treated to some of the more impressive graphics from an Indie game in 2018. There is so much to look at on screen without it being cluttered, and it really is eye candy for those who want something to look at that is certainly pleasing to their eyes. Admittedly, the game is quite the short adventure and there isn't much to look at in the grand scheme of things, but what is available to you will never fail to impress.
The story centres around the tribe known as Wakcha, who have come to ruin the life of young Teku and his fellow tribesmen and women. Burning his village to the ground and capturing the remaining villagers. Not highly original in terms of any story in the gaming industry, but it sets up nicely for a journey about revenge and saving your people. It's not a simple case of just jumping from platform to platform until you reach the end boss, as there is a multitude of puzzles you must solve to further advance the game. There is no actual dialogue between the few characters you will meet, rather bubbles filled with moving pictures to offer you clues as to what needs to be done next. Luckily, Terry Wilton has provided his voice as narrator, which will prove to be helpful as you sometimes sit there wondering exactly what it is that you need to do next. I could listen to that voice read the dictionary and I would be riveted. Very relaxing tones and definitely a talented actor.
The puzzles may seem obscure to say the least, as it's not always obvious as to what you need to do next, and may leave you attempting various interactions before you are successful. Coupled with controls that don't always do what you ask of them, Candle loses points here. Thankfully, it does not lose out any further, as the game is a joy to play throughout the whole journey.
I did find myself becoming distracted from time to time to take in the gorgeous hand drawn visuals, to listen to the music, and generally take in what is a stunning game all around. I highly recommend Candle: The Power of Flame to anyone who is willing to give an Indie game a chance, and if you are still unsure about it, then maybe the fact that the achievement list is very easy to complete. From the usual story progression achievements, to dying in certain ways and even lighting up all candles along the way, there really isn't anything that will prove to be too challenging for any gamer. So, you have a game with stunning visuals, excellent music, a fantastic narrator and an easy achievement list. What else would you possibly want for your money?
Candle is possibly one of the best Indie games I have had the pleasure to play in 2018, maybe beyond that even. The package as whole is undeniably full of beautiful music, beautiful graphics and fantastic narration. The only issue I came across was the controls not being as responsive as one would have liked.
Developer: Teku Studio
Publisher: Merge Games
Release Date: 25th July 2018
File Size: 3.68GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch & Steam