Once upon a time, I interviewed an Xbox Live Indie Games developer who didn’t want you to buy his game. That game was “PuzzleLights”, and it has gone tragically un-reviewed until now.
An evolution of an old Tiger hand-held game called LightsOut, “PuzzleLights” takes a simple and enjoyable formula and innovates on it in key ways. The formula of the games is simple, you want to turn off all the lights in a grid. Turn off a light, and the four neighbouring ones (in the primary up, down, left, and right directions) turn on. The key is to turn off all the lights in as few moves as possible. Whereas the original game was technologically restricted to a 5×5 grid, due to it being a dedicated LCD handheld game on very simple hardware, “PuzzleLights” has the ability to ease you into the game with a smaller grid than LightsOut had, and to grow complexity over time to a much larger grid than LightOut could have managed. The addition of multiple colours to have to cycle through also ramps up the challenge and the interest, too.
The game is meant to be as relaxed as you want, with soothing music and calm visuals. It needn’t stay that way though if you’re a puzzle masochist, with huge grids to conquer and randomly generated grids (when you run out of James Watton’s hand-built ones) to seriously test your puzzling skills. With lots of replay value thanks to the option of randomly generated levels, not to mention the game leaving you with the desire to go back and see if you can finish one of the hand-built levels in fewer moves, this is a fun and recommended 80 Microsoft Point game.
Here’s what the developer (x35mm) has to say about the game:
“A relaxing puzzle game! Sit down with a cup of tea and leave the days problems behind as you wrap your head around various puzzles, ranging from easy to the near-impossible, all to a soothing, relaxing soundtrack and calming visuals! Features 25 pre-built puzzles, or choose from one of 36 difficulties and test your brain against a near-endless supply of randomly generated puzzles!”