Let me start this review off by saying that if you found this page by googling ‘Candle review’, I won’t be talking about Yankee Candle’s new Woodwick range. I will, however, be waxing lyrical about 2D side-scrolling puzzle platformer, Candle by Teku Studios. So if you are interested in shedding some light on that, then stick around. For those of you who dislike candle puns, don’t worry, I’m not doing any more. I don’t want to get on your wick.
Candle is a game about Teku, a young novice tribesman who is trying to rescue the shaman of his tribe from the clutches of his enemies. At least that’s what I’m led to believe. The story isn’t exactly delivered in an easy to digest way. Most of the interactions with NPCs are achieved through selecting pictures from a menu and then trying to interpret the pictures they presumably beam into your brain in response. Which makes the conversations puzzles in themselves, and the story not exactly clear.
It is beautiful though. Candle is stunning in a way that is very rare in modern gaming. The environments and characters are all hand-painted and gorgeous. They are not just beautiful though, they are unique and idiosyncratic in a way that reminds me of nothing else. Playing the game is almost like interacting with a piece of art, and I spent a lot of my time just appreciating the visuals, and wondering how just how many mushrooms the artist was consuming during the design process.
While the game is billed as an adventure with challenging puzzles, I would have to disagree. In reality, it’s a reasonably challenging platformer, peppered with baffling trial and error puzzles. The platforming parts seem fairly trivial at first glance, but the inconsistent and unresponsive controls often make a simple section a frustrating battle between the simple thing you’re trying to do, and what Teku decides to do instead. The platforming is challenging in the way that jumping off the kerb would be if you didn’t know prior to jumping whether your shoelaces would be untied, tied together, or wrapped around your neck.
The puzzles, however, are challenging in the way that being put in a room with three cakes, a saw, and a box of cereal and then being told to save a princess would be. There is usually no logical link between the items and environments you are presented with, so the ‘puzzles’ most often consist of trial and error. “Well I have three items and there are two things I can interact with. I guess I’ll try all three items on both things and see what happens,” is how you’re forced to think. It’s like one of those old adventure games were after an hour you realise all you had to do was give the spanner to the troll so he could drop a box on a rabbit in another screen and then it would eat a bush and a turkey would run out with the key, and you think, “Oh of course”, because you like to lie to yourself.
More and more as time goes on, the line is blurring between games and art. I am a fan of this. I love games that make me think or give my eyes some sweet, sweet candy. Candle lies firmly in the visual spectacle area of gaming for me. If the art wasn’t as good, this review would just be me moaning about how much I hate the gameplay. Instead, it’s only 93% that. Get it if you like to look at stuff.
Candle (Playstation 4)
The Wickwood range isn’t even that good. Apparently, a lot of serious candle reviewers don’t even rate Yankee Candle. There are just so many alternatives with stronger scents and cheaper prices.
You might also like
More from Gaming
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is bloody brilliant. There’s the short version for those who couldn’t be arsed reading a review today. …
When I first loaded up CardLife: Cardboard Survival, my first thoughts were, “Wow, this might not suck after all”. It’s …