God of Light ($2) is a new game from Playmous that features music from British electronica group UNKLE. A physics puzzle game, God of Light challenges players to guide a beam of light from a starting point to an end point using mirrors, while picking up crystals along the way. A few in-app purchases are offered, but they’re not pushed aggressively.
The game’s mascot, Shiny, is a cute little ball that unleashes the ray of light players need to get through the levels. Using a finger to guide the beam, players must then direct the beam to its goal using mirrors. Some mirrors can rotate, others can be moved. There are also doors to unlock in some levels, and more elements such as prisms and bending light, are introduced as the game progresses. Playmous did a great job with the learning curve, as the puzzles gradually get more challenging and multi-faceted while never feeling unfair. The controls are sensitive, but intuitive.
Gamers are challenged to pass the light beam through three crystals in each level to obtain the highest possible score. Levels can be completed without picking up any crystals at all, but you’ll need 70 crystals in the first world to unlock the second world without using an in-app purchase. For tricky levels, players can summon fireflies — dragging the lightning bugs across the screen illuminates the correct path, but only for a few fleeting moments. When the fireflies are gone, players must either find more within the game or buy more through in-app purchases.
For a game with a lot of darkness, God of Light looks very good. Though the design slants toward cartoonish, it’s not saccharine, and the lighting effects are satisfying. There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes from sending the steady beam of light into new, unexplored directions. The level select screen is also a pleasure.
UNKLE has been around a while in various formations, but American music fans may best know the group from its critically acclaimed 1998 album Psyence Fiction, which featured an array of prominent guest vocalists, including Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. The group’s soundtrack on God of Light is fittingly ethereal and ambient, blending into the background while adding to the experience. It fits the pace of the game.
There’s a lot to like about God of Light. It’s an attractive, challenging, thoughtful game. Playmous promises “regular updates with new game worlds and levels to explore” within the game’s App Store description, which bodes well for future replay value. February has already been a good month for puzzle fans, with the launch of the awesome and addictive Threes. God of Light is another winner.
iLounge Rating: A-