By Marisa Alexander / October 25th, 2017
I am sure all of us had some experience with photography. Capturing memories on a single still image is both powerful and fragile at once. The image is completely intact but can still be easily lost due to the image fading or simply being replaced. This is what From Light strives for, the duality of photographs. You take control of Lumen, who comes across a flying bot that can take pictures at any time. When pictures are taken, Lumen can move around in the photograph. Lumen can’t interact with anything but they can at least get to places they couldn’t otherwise by doing so. Some questions pop-up, however, such as why can Lumen do this and why are they here?
In the demo, you traverse through what appears to be a junkyard. The inhabitants all have skulls, and it’s unclear if they are wearing them or if the skulls are their heads. The area itself is desolate but still peaceful. With all of the forgotten machinery around them, it raises a question if this is a time when humanity fell. The demo provokes this atmosphere and mystery. Along the way, you can collect postcards, containing images that might be of a past long lost.
To traverse past obstacles, most of the time you must take a photograph to freeze time. Puzzles included pushing boxes, freezing platforms activated by buttons, and even creating streaks of light. The last idea is perhaps the most interesting, as you can’t just move the camera however you want. The camera only follows Lumen and so you must control Lumen to create the streak of light you desire. Light can also interact with boxes without taking a picture as well.
Art-wise, the art style plays perfectly into the game’s theme of duality. Lumen is a very bright character, literally speaking. He stand-out against the dark background. Speaking of the background, it has a wonderful mixture of light and darkness to give a sense of both peace and emptiness. The soundtrack in the demo is exceptionally atmospheric, with a precise amount of low-notes and high-notes. Overall, this is a very beautiful game to look at.
Unfortunately, the experience wasn’t perfect. Even for a demo, I wasn’t able to choose a different graphical quality. As such, I had a sub-optimal performance. Upon collecting postcards, the screen shakes violently. In a platformer, it can break the pace since you have to stop in order to see where you are going. As a disclaimer, I wasn’t able to complete the demo due to what I can only assume is a technical hitbox oddity. When light collides with a box by the side, it forces the box on top of it. There is a segment that requires a box to reach the other side of crushing mechanisms and without the momentum needed, I couldn’t do it. After a while, more boxes spawned and then became unable to be interacted with.
If those three issues can be looked into, however, I am sure the game can live up to its potential. The art style is exceptional, pairing well with the gameplay. From Light is a game I will be looking forward to. It was a very interesting demo to experience. If you love photographs and puzzle platformers, this is a game to watch out for.