REVIEW: Candle: The Power of the Flame

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

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oprainfall | Candle: The Power of the Flame
Title Candle: The Power of the Flame
Developer Teku Studios
Publisher Merge Games
Release Date July 26th, 2018
Genre Puzzle, Adventure
Platform Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Age Rating ESRB: E10+, PEGI: 7
Official Website

The world of Candle: The Power of the Flame was created by the Gods, but several times things went wrong. As the peoples of the world advanced, greed soon corrupted them and took over. Each time, the Gods grew angry and cleared the slate, starting the world anew once more. Now it’s happening again, but this time it’s up to young Teku to try to stop it before it’s too late. He must venture forth from his now destroyed village, solve puzzles to figure out what is going on, and find his village’s kidnapped Shaman.

Candle: The Power of the Flame | Intro Cut Scene

A cutscene reveals some of the backstory.

The story of Candle: The Power of the Flame is told across three acts. In each act, you may move back and forth between all areas in that act freely, or at least among the ones you have access to so far. This is necessary to find items and clues to solve the puzzles scattered around in each act of the game. Teku’s actions are pretty simple. He can walk or run. If he encounters an interactive object, an icon will appear, sometimes with multiple options, such as picking up an item.

Candle: The Power of the Flame | Tutorial Level

Teku’s village burns down after being attacked, while you learn the basic game controls.

These icons will only appear while Teku is walking or standing by an object, but not when running. So if you always run everywhere, then you will miss important things. If Teku is at a lit torch or other fire source, he can light his candle. The candle itself allows you to see in a few dark areas, and to light unlit torches and things. Teku also has a special ability to create a bright flash with his candle by tapping the A button. This can reveal hidden things in a few cases. However, sometimes he will need to hold the A button for a few seconds to put out his candle to avoid detection by enemies.

Candle: The Power of the Flame | Teku Sets Out

Teku sets out on his new adventure and begins to explore.

At this point, Candle: The Power of the Flame may sound like a relaxing puzzle adventure game, but there is a catch. Don’t expect to just play it casually, because you won’t get far. It requires great attention to detail. Sometimes the items you need are very subtle and the game does nothing to draw your attention to them. This can be compounded by how detailed the beautiful hand-drawn graphics are. Some of the puzzles are incredibly obtuse as well.

Candle: The Power of the Flame | Village Member

A member of Teku’s village is stuck on a tree on the right. How can you rescue him?

This all means that you’ll often find yourself running back and forth between the areas you currently have access to, trying to find whatever it is that you’re missing. This is where Teku’s slow and clunky movement becomes an issue. It makes the backtracking feel more tedious and less enjoyable. His jumping also feels a bit clunky, but it’s not too much of a problem once you get used to it early in the game. There is a map screen, but you probably won’t use it too much, as it just shows how the areas in each act are connected together.

Candle: The Power of the Flame | Giant Stone Frog

Teku discovers a giant frog statue and must figure out how to move it without getting crushed in the process!

The graphics in this game are very charming, using a detailed hand-drawn art style that is a joy to look at. As you can see, the levels and backgrounds are deeply detailed. The music track is just as good, too. It sets the mood very well and helps bring the story and world to life. Meanwhile, the sound effects and narration are also right up there. The narrator is mostly only heard during story cutscenes, but there are a few times during gameplay where he’ll comment on what’s going on. It’s just too bad that the gameplay falls well short of the visual and audio presentation.

Candle: The Power of the Flame | Lush Area

Teku discovers a previously inaccessible area that is lush, but not without some puzzles of its own.

Candle: The Power of the Flame is a fairly short game overall, but it will take you a lot longer to get through than you’d expect given its true length. Many players may end up consulting a guide to get them unstuck, as getting hung up and not knowing what to do is not an uncommon problem here. While the levels are great to look at, some of the puzzle design is at times quite questionable and obscure. The game itself is not a particularly hard one. In fact, most of the gameplay is pretty easy. However, it can be frustrating because of how obtuse the puzzle designs can be in some cases, where it is not at all clear what they want you to do. The clunky movement also contributes to the gameplay issues. You’ll have a few times where you see an obvious solution, but it doesn’t work in favor of a much more obscure one, causing you to get stuck again and not be able to progress.

You’ll probably spend at least 15-20 hours or more, depending on how much you get stuck and how badly (and whether you use a guide). The game doesn’t have very much replay value either, and the Switch version does not have achievements like the others do. I greatly enjoyed the charming art style and music during my 15 or so hours with the game, but the gameplay just doesn’t live up to that at all. Candle: The Power of the Flame is available on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $19.99. Can you help Teku save the world before it falls to greed once more?

Review Score
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

Review copy provided by publisher.

About Michael Fontanini

Michael is a veteran gamer in my early 30s, who grew up around video games, with fond memories of the oldies like the NES and SNES. He loves Nintendo but also plays a lot of games on his PC. Michael also enjoys going for walks or bike rides, and loves animals.

Michael is also a computer programmer. This started with a toy he got as a kid called PreComputer 1000 that was made by V-Tech. It had a simple programming mode which is what started him down the road of being a programmer! Michael can program in BASIC, Visual Basic, C++, C#, and is familiar with Java and Lua Script.

Putting programming and gaming together, Michael became a hobbyist game developer which may give him some good insights on game development! Most recently, he has been playing with the free version of the Unity engine (a powerful and easy-to-use game engine).

I love Nintendo but I also play a lot of game's on PC, many of which are on steam. My favorite Nintendo game's include Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Bros to name a few. On PC I love the Half-Life games, as well as most all of the Source Engine games just to name a few.