Strayed Lights: A Captivating Journey of Self-Discovery and Combat Brilliance – PC Review
Austin Wintory, a renowned Grammy award-winning artist, brings his exceptional talent to every video game he is part of, making a significant impact. As an avid gamer, I have made it a tradition to eagerly anticipate and play any title that bears his musical prowess, such as the critically acclaimed Journey, Abzu, and Pathless. His captivating melodies and harmonies always elevate the gaming experience to new heights. In his latest masterpiece, Strayed Lights, Wintory once again showcases his unparalleled skills in crafting an unforgettable gaming experience. With its unique combat mechanics, breathtaking visuals, and Wintory’s signature music, Strayed Lights proves to be another extraordinary game where his creative genius shines through.
Strayed Lights casts you as a nameless, radiant being on a profound journey of self-discovery. As you explore vast and mysterious worlds, you not only grapple with external challenges but also confront inner demons, while seeking to free colossal shadow creatures from their emotional torment. Remarkably, this poignant tale unfolds entirely without dialogue, inviting players into a contemplative experience that transcends language barriers.
Although the game was designed with this specific gameplay style in mind, I found myself struggling to remain fully engaged at times. My mind would occasionally wander to other subjects, particularly during moments when the soundtrack was quiet. This seemed to happen more frequently at the beginning of the game, before the introduction of any intense combat sequences. However, I was relieved to discover that the game’s exceptional combat system quickly drew me back in whenever I found myself losing interest.
“Strayed Lights offers a combat experience that, while not particularly challenging, is still excellent.”
Strayed Lights presents a unique combat system where players can seamlessly shift between different states of blue and orange to deflect enemy attacks. Precise timing is crucial as you parry incoming attacks of the same colour and evade purple attacks. Mastering the rhythm of combat is essential, as healing and recharging ability points only occur upon defeating enemies. While attacking is an option, it’s weaker compared to parrying, making blocking and counterattacking the primary strategy. Once an enemy is weakened, you can release a burst of energy to vanquish them from existence. Seems brutal, but it’s the price they pay for messing with you.
This combat approach is designed to be easy to learn yet hard to master, though I personally found the game to be relatively unchallenging. As someone who enjoys a challenge in video games, I felt the difficulty was toned down throughout the game, although the boss battles remained rewarding. However, once you finish Elden Ring, I’m not sure if anything will be as difficult.
Nonetheless, Strayed Lights offers a combat experience that, while not particularly challenging, is still excellent. The game boasts a diverse array of enemies, and interestingly, all bear a resemblance to each other. This means that players must remain constantly vigilant, as they need to adapt to the distinct fighting styles of each enemy in order to prevail. This aspect of the game adds to its strength, keeping players on their toes and engaged in strategic combat throughout their journey.
The Boss Battles in Strayed Lights Are Enough Reasons to Buy The Game
Strayed Lights also includes a small skill tree in its 6-8 hour playthrough, offering numerous permanent gameplay enhancements, such as increased health, and three different abilities: Blast, Shock, and Balance. While all abilities proved somewhat useful, Blast seemed to be my go-to option, offering an unblockable leaping attack that dealt decent damage, a boon in a game centred around parrying.
One of the highlights of the game is the exhilarating boss battles. Successfully parrying a flurry of unique attacks and completing the parry or damage bar triggers interactive cutscenes that are awe-inspiring with their animations. When triggered, this always left me giving out a minor cheer. Fortunately, these boss fights were so memorable, I found myself always eagerly anticipating the next encounter. However, one limitation I felt was the inability to dash while jumping in the air, which could have added to the fun factor of traversing the game’s stunning world.
“Austin Wintory heightened the overall atmosphere of the game”
Strayed Lights captivates with its breathtaking visuals, showcasing stunning fauna and enigmatic ruins that add to the game’s visual allure. I found myself constantly pausing to capture the mesmerising scenes with the game’s built-in photo mode.
The game’s subtle nuances effectively guide the player in the right direction. Whether it’s a spirit shooting waves of light to indicate the way or scratches on the floor and walls pointing towards the next objective, I never felt lost or unsure of where to go.
Even if I did happen to lose my way, I stumbled upon floating energy orbs or mysterious pink eggs scattered throughout the game. While the names of these objects are left to my imagination due to the lack of dialogue, absorbing the orbs increased my character’s power, and collecting the eggs rewarded me with hidden screenshots from the past. Every area I explored held worthwhile treasures to discover.
Adding to the immersive experience, the evocative soundtrack composed by Grammy award-winning artist Austin Wintory heightened the overall atmosphere of the game, making it a truly captivating and unforgettable journey. The score seamlessly weaves into the game’s fabric, enhancing every moment, and immersing players in a world where sound and gameplay are in perfect harmony. Austin Wintory’s contributions to Strayed Lights are immeasurable, and his involvement is a testament to his exceptional talent as a composer.
Strayed Lights is a short game, but it’s also a stunning adventure that everyone should experience. For the price of US$24.99 / AU$37.95 / £19.99, this should be on everyone’s wishlists.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC; code was provided by the publisher.
Strayed Lights offers players a profound journey of self-discovery in a visually stunning world without any dialogue, transcending language barriers. While I occasionally struggled to remain fully engaged during quiet moments, the exceptional combat system quickly drew me back in. The unique combat approach, though not particularly challenging, still provides an excellent experience with a diverse array of enemies that require strategic adaptation. The boss battles are exhilarating and memorable, and the world design and visuals are breathtaking, with subtle nuances guiding the way. The evocative soundtrack by Austin Wintory adds to the immersive experience. Despite being a short game, Strayed Lights is a captivating and unforgettable adventure that is worth experiencing.