Occasionally here at Player2.net.au we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for the same length as the average blockbuster movie (about 2 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Oscura: Lost Light
It’s been a long while since I’ve had the opportunity to devote some time to an indie title, so when I sat down to Oscura: Lost Light I was excited to see how the genre had progressed in the time I had been away. Indie games can be amazing journeys through new worlds and experiences, but they can also be unpolished titles that reach too far and fall too short. Oscura: Lost Light falls somewhere in the middle of those extremes; an aesthetic and simplistic title that delivers some unique features…but just not enough to be considered anything more than average.
The game starts with the main character, Oscura, getting a job at the local lighthouse, and being given one task “Don’t touch the Aurora Stone”. So what do you think Oscura goes and does? Yep- he touches the damn stone and brings doom upon the planet. All light in the world fades, bringing with it a dangerous darkness that Oscura must banish by collecting shards of the shattered stone and piecing it back together.
Gameplay wise, the title is a side scrolling platformer that pits Oscura against a range of puzzles, bad guys and obstacles, forcing him to rely on the skills of the controlling gamer to get him through it. Lucky for him though, he also has a range of cool powers to save him from certain death, however these prove useless when the control scheme is harder to grasp than a squid in heat. The controls were my main gripe with this title, and the lack of control mapping gave the game an unpolished feel that it otherwise didn’t deserve. Movement could be done with either WASD or the arrow keys, but using the aforementioned powers had to be triggered by the space bar; a key the majority of PC gamers associate with jumping. This disassociation of the control scheme had me incredibly frustrated, and sucked a lot of enjoyment out of an otherwise pleasing gaming experience. On top of that, Oscura: Lost Light lacks flow- generating a very jagged journey through the levels. Some parts of the game require timing and thought, whilst others force the gamer to race through sections lest they get eaten/killed/crushed/stabbed etc.
For its flaws, the game does have its share of positives. The art style is simplistic yet pleasing, the music meshes with the gameplay seamlessly and certain puzzling aspects do leave you with a feeling of smug self satisfaction when you figure them out. Being an indie title, faults can be forgiven on the proviso that they are fixed, and the fact that my main problem was the mere lack of a feature show hope for the future of the game.
Oscura: Lost Light will appeal to those gamers looking for a platformer that’s quick and easy to pick up. With a range of levels all about five minutes long and plenty of replay value for score and time beating, the game is worth the $10 you’ll pay on Steam for it… provided you have the time and patience to overcome that control scheme. In my game though, Oscura will be stuck in darkness forever… which serves him right for doing the wrong thing in the first place.