- System: PlayStation VR
- Publisher: Oasis Games
- Developer: Void Dimensions
- Release Date: Sep. 26, 2017
- Pricing: $14.99 USD
- Rating: E - Everyone
- Genre: Puzzle, platform, action, adventure
- Players: 1
- Official Website: http://en.console.oasgames.com
Who it Caters to
Oasis Games, known for its blockbuster online RPG Legend Online and Naruto Online, have put out a few VR titles since the PSVR’s launch, with their newest offering being Light Tracer, which is setting the bar for VR puzzlers to come as a unique multi-genre VR experience.
What to Expect
One must direct the princess through eight chapters with five levels each using jumping skills, precise timing, and strategic attacks using the Princess’ sword, or clever avoidance to get around enemies. But you must also keep moving the world around, as the answer to some puzzles lies in how you see things; and if you can’t see where the princess should go, you can’t guide her there!
The controls may be difficult to adapt to at first, but that’s usually the case with innovative VR games. It is a developing technology after all! It’s easy to catch on, though, and having both hands involved while analyzing stages and challenges really pulls you into the gorgeous and cleverly designed game for hours, even if you do have to do a lot of camera readjusting.
LIGHT TRACER – Launch Trailer | PS VR
The princess is really the only character in the game besides the enemies, which vary according to each stage; like golems in the rocky stage, beetles and bees in the garden stage, and so on. While the princess is the most adorable thing you’ve ever repeatedly sent to its death, the enemies’ design is also detailed and fits in perfectly with the rest of the world.
Much like in old platformers, the story is only there as a setup for all the stages you have to beat and to give you some sort of closure when you finally beat the last boss. Keep in mind this game is mainly a puzzler, so consider yourself lucky there is even a story at all. Puzzlers don’t usually need a storyline, so Light Tracer sure benefitted from its hybrid nature in that regard. There may not be too much to the story, but the experience makes it so you don’t really wonder why things are the way they are, that’s not what this game is about. It’s about an immersive, enjoyable, challenging puzzler experience.
The left Move controller’s trigger serves to grip the tower and rotate it, move it farther or closer, or to perform any other necessary maneuvers in order to get the best angle to solve each puzzle. There are also certain items you can move around on the platforms to assist the princess. A wooden crate can help hold down a button or close a gap, and there are some platforms that you can rotate, move up, down, or left to right to help get the princess get through obstacles or simply from one side of a stage to the other.
The first hurdle is learning how to jump off bouncy water/slime platforms which give you added height to reach farther places. As mentioned before, there is a lot involved in jumping and it is especially difficult on these jellies, even more so when there are golems throwing rocks at the poor little girl at the same time! Then there’s slippery ice, which will send the princess sliding to her doom with one wrong step, unless you pay attention and only let her slide on ice when there is some regular ground on the other end of the platform, or if you can put an item in her way to help keep her from sliding off.
This constant ascent in difficulty continues and reaches the point where you can control gravity in an upside down world, and a world with mechanical puzzles that are even harder to beat. This all goes for the bosses as well. The first boss requires a couple of easy moves, but after that, each boss requires many attempts and the princess will more than likely have to say “I’m ok!” a few dozen times as you go up the levels. But the boss puzzles are fun and usually more challenging than their stages, as they usually combine recently learned mechanics with some new idea or twist that you need to really think of to identify and successfully beat each boss.
After repeatedly moving the tower around to get a good view, the whole things ends up in an awkward position. This is easy to fix by pressing X on the left controller, which centers the camera. Unfortunately, it’s usually not a very helpful angle and sometimes it all ends up a bit to the side anyway. We did a LOT of camera adjusting.
As far as the art goes, the game is beautifully designed. The levels are fantastical and beautiful with quirky characters as enemies, and every single platform is unique onto itself with soft music that perfectly matches each level but never makes you feel stressed or pressured, making the experience a calming one where you can focus on the tasks at hand.
Of course, that’s what we want her in, but it is also the most expensive costume at 2500 crystals. T_T The crystals are easy to get at first, but later it becomes a life-or-death choice when there are multiple moving platforms and enemies and 10 crystals to be had over a gaping hole in the center of the platform. You may not be able to afford it at first, but as you get better and better at the puzzles and timing your moves, it becomes easier to accumulate crystals and thus dress the princess however you want!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
However, there is a recurrent issue with camera centering, as with most VR games. In the case of Light Tracer, moving the tower around too much will eventually have you playing in a completely twisted position, with your legs to one side and your torso twisted all the way to the opposite side. That’d be ok if the centering option gave us a convenient perspective, but, usually, we had to grab and adjust the tower again, which only brought it back to the uncomfortable position it was in, to begin with.
Another downside is that you never know how much damage you’re dealing to the bosses. You just stay hopeful and keep doing what you think is right until the boss drops (but really, we think it was hitting them in increments of 3s that did the job?!). A little counter or some other sort of measure would be great to reference to but we digress.
All that said, it was truly rewarding when we finally were able to beat the stages we had the most trouble with (those damn jellies!!!), or that "aha!" moment when you realize how to beat that pesky boss or the perfect combo of moves to get through a level. If you enjoy puzzlers, you will probably immerse yourself in Light Tracer like we did. It can easily absorb you for hours with its beautiful graphics, melodic, relaxing music and challenges that won’t easily let you go. And even after you uncover the end of the story, you’ll want to go back and challenge the puzzles over and over.
With eight chapters of obstacles and challenges, beautiful art, clever puzzles that are each more difficult than the last, unique controls and good music, Light Tracer cannot be accused of being repetitive or boring. If you can get over the camera angle adjusting, Light Tracer will hook you.
- Uniquely designed levels that increase in difficulty and challenge the player’s problem-solving skills, reaction time and coordination without ever becoming repetitive.
- Beautiful graphics, design, and music that make it a delight to sit and tackle the puzzles for hours.
- Immersive controls that pull you into the game completely.
- No time limits let you leisurely tackle each stage.
- Uncomfortable camera angles are hard to fix, even with the centering feature.
- No hints as to bosses’ HP makes it hard to know if you’re doing the right thing.
Honey's Final Verdict:
It delicately balances the dexterity and coordination required for platformers with the brain-power needed for a straight puzzle game. But, unlike games like Little Big Planet, for example, Light Tracer is calming. It’s not a race, there’s no time limit, no special side quests to keep in mind. Just your brain and hands working in perfect sync to help that little princess save her people. And the fact that it’s VR really helps immerse you in the puzzles and in your own mind as you are as in-the-moment as one could ever be while playing a game. It really is a zen experience!
Even with the minor camera angle issues, it’s an easy recommendation for any fans of puzzles and/or platformers, as everyone can find something to love and something challenging in this game. It only takes up a bit over a gigabyte of your storage and it’s sure worth the $15 price tag if you appreciate a good challenge and a cute moe princess.
Have you played Light Tracer yet? What did you think? Share with us in the comment section!