Candleman is beautifully simple, yet lovingly crafted puzzle platformer from Spotlightor Interactive. The game follows the story of Candleman, a young, newly conscience candle with legs, on a mission to a lighthouse to ask it why it burns?
Created as part of the ID@Xbox initiative, this serene and gorgeous indie game is just wonderful. Candleman can only burn for ten seconds so each level forces you to use your light carefully. The 33 levels are spread across nine very different chapters from navigating a sunken ship to wandering among photo-luminescent plant life. Each chapter varies the type of puzzle of offer, from simple platforming to utilising the shadows of your enemies to activate buttons. The levels are small in real world terms, but feel much bigger due to the fact you are a tiny candle in an almost scary oversized world. The fantastic use of camera angles, darkness and light give this game a tight, polished feel whilst being incredibly simplistic.
It’s not a long game and regular gamers could finish it in around five hours, however, younger players might struggle on the later levels. Thankfully, you have ten lives, midpoint checkpoints and automatic saving after each level.
The graphics and sound are admirable considering the small team that worked on the game and the female narrator does a great job at whimsically telling the tale of the candle who wanted to be a lighthouse.
Each level has a set number of candles to light and when you find and light them all, you are treated to additional lines in this enchanting story. This element adds a level of replayability, should you want to replay certain levels to light all the candles
The gameplay is solid and running and jumping works well. The puzzles increase in difficulty somewhat throughout the game, but all give the player a sense of achievement. The game developer in me really appreciates (and is very jealous of) the simplicity of Candleman. The use of light and dark to create atmospheric levels that feel huge, despite being only a few platforms and obstacles. It’s very well done.
Overall, I really enjoyed Candleman, as it was sufficiently different, satisfying to play and just the right length to enjoy over the course of a week. I take my hat off to the team at Spotlightor as they have created a beautifully simple experience that is both enchanting and enjoyable. Hardcore gamers might think the early levels are too simplistic and the overall experience is too short, but it’s an enchanting journey that both young and old will enjoy.