Ashi: Lake of Light

Guid­ing in­sects round Ashi: Lake of Light.

PC GAMER (UK) - - CONTENTS - Shi Sausage Roll. Stephen’s By Philippa Warr

Ais a re­lax­ing spa­tial puz­zle game some­where on the op­po­site end of the pain spec­trum to games like It’s a top-down af­fair which deals in glow­ing lanterns, twin­kling fire­flies and right-an­gle turns. You, the mis­tress of the fire­flies (as I have cho­sen to think of my­self in this case) must guide one fire­fly from its start­ing lily pad to a lit­tle gate­way across the lake.

Fire­flies only fly in straight lines so you’ll need to use lanterns to steer the in­sects around the sur­face of the pond. The ba­sic rule is that if a fire­fly passes a lantern with a lit can­dle in­side, its path­way will bend around that lantern and make the in­sect turn left or right. As the game goes on, you get new tools and rules to play with.

Some are vari­a­tions on the ba­sics – stronger lights make the in­sect stick to the lantern longer, mean­ing it can dou­ble back on it­self or turn a three-quar­ter cir­cle. Oth­ers in­volve warp points which spit the fire­fly out in dif­fer­ent ar­eas or sym­bols which con­vert its tail light from red to blue. The lat­ter means the fire­fly stops pay­ing at­ten­tion to the red lanterns and only re­acts to the blue ones.

De­spite the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of dif­fer­ent rules and el­e­ments to

con­sider, Ashi con­tin­ues to feel man­age­able. Firstly, there are a lim­ited num­ber of el­e­ments to tweak in a given puz­zle. Of­ten I can see what I need to do by look­ing at the lay­out to see what I can or can’t change and then work­ing back­wards from the exit point to see how the fire­fly needs to move.

Se­condly, once you re­lease the fire­fly and let it fol­low the path you’ve laid out, it leaves a trail to mark where it’s been. This re­mains on the screen un­til you change any of the vari­ables for a new at­tempt. As a re­sult you can of­ten use the older path to work out where the prob­lem in nav­i­ga­tion lies.

At its most pleas­ant, the re­sult is a mild set of puz­zles where it’s hard to get stuck. My favourite part was watch­ing the fire­fly meander through the so­lu­tions – it’s not dis­sim­i­lar to the feel­ing of watch­ing a row of domi­nos fall or a lit­tle wind-up toy go about its me­chan­i­cal busi­ness.

Easy ride

The weak­ness is that you can bum­ble through with­out feel­ing much trac­tion. There were a few lit­tle dif­fi­culty spikes – maybe four of five puz­zles af­ter the half­way mark – which of­fered up more of a chal­lenge.

These points of fric­tion im­ply that there’s po­ten­tial for more fiendish puz­zling us­ing the same rules. I’d have liked to see more in that vein as the dif­fi­culty never re­ally seemed to ramp up, even though the PC re­lease bun­dles in what are re­ferred to as “su­per-chal­leng­ing bonus puz­zles”.

The mix­ture of sooth­ing and chal­leng­ing never quite re­solved into a strong ex­pe­ri­ence for me but at less than three quid Ashi is a nice lunchtime game. If you find it easy, there’s plea­sure in watch­ing so­lu­tions un­fold. If you find it tricky it’ll be a bit meatier as a puz­zle ex­pe­ri­ence.

At less than three quid Ashi is a nice lunchtime game

There’s no penalty for plan­ning an ex­per­i­men­tal run.

The blue lily pad points in the di­rec­tion you’ll start head­ing.

You’ll need to com­plete both branches to ad­vance.

Some lev­els look a bit in­tim­i­dat­ing at first!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.