Linelight, developed as a solo project by Brett Taylor over the course of just ten months, is a minimalistic, puzzle game that not only delivers great puzzles, but also a sense of serenity.
There are lines. Plenty of them. There are also a few lights involved. It may seem extremely basic, but how much more do you really need to make a game? Not much as it turns out.
Your objective is to control a piece of light, traversing a series of lines, unlocking gates, elevators and the likes with a few triggers and switches. There are also a few ‘enemy’ lights that stand in your way of completing your missing, which is to reach the end of the line, so to speak.
As the game progresses, so does the difficulty. The challenges become much harder to complete, yet it never reaches a point of frustration. The background music provides a sense of calm, and at times makes you forget that you’re actually solving some complicated puzzles. The combination of the puzzles and music creates a sense of equilibrium, calm on one end, while enthralling, with a hint of stress, on the other.
The gameplay and controls are minimalist too. Players can choose between using the keyboard on PC, or a controller on PS4 or PC. There aren’t many keys to choose from either. On the keyboard, you have the direction keys, shift key, and “R” key to reset a stage. And that’s everything really.
The graphics are also simplistically beautiful. Build on the Unity engine, the lines and light appear above the backdrop of space, with a few fog-like elements thrown in for effect.
I find it extremely difficult to review Linelight. At the same time, I find it difficult to fault it in any way. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m a pure minimalist, but I thoroughly enjoy moments of it, and this game provides all that. You can spend hours solving the puzzles, whether be trial and error, or breezing through them with ease. There are 252 levels to progress through, all of it worth your time.
The game is fun. The game is addictive. It provides the basic criteria of what a game should be, and takes us back to a time when all we had were lines and light to develop programmer game.