In my eyes 2017 is highly representative as the return of 3D platformers. A resurgence riding the back of multiple titles, big and small. Candleman, much like its protagonist was out shined by others released last year. Although that didn’t stop it from catching the eye of critics and gamers alike to garner some solid scores and following after its debut on the Xbox One. Now it has come to Steam bearing the title, Candleman: The Complete Journey. Packaged with the core game as well as the dlc content that released after launch.
The mere idea of playing as an actual candle in a platforming video game comes off a bit irregular within a genre that is dominated by characters who display heroics and special abilities. But within the constructs of the story being told and emotional tones that are being played upon, a confident and undaunted protagonist would not fit the bill. The story line is simple enough, you start as the candle man who wants to shine the brightest and understand his role in life. Nothing complex or intricate is weaved into the storyline, just the notions of purpose and succeeding as they relate to life’s journey. The campaign is told in a very minimalistic nature with mild use of cut scenes and a soothing female voice who narrates the adventure in a somewhat poetic fashion. Spotlightor Interactive did a fine job of crafting a storyline that portrayed the sentiment, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”.
When it comes to the actual gameplay of Candleman, it can be quite the misleading and sometimes uneven title. As with the simplicity of the story, the game mechanics follow the same trend. You are able to jump and light your wick to produce a flame, but it is only able to burn for 10 seconds before ending in death. So using your flame sparingly and strategically is a major part of the gameplay as you traverse the poorly lit levels. Lighting somewhat hidden candles along the way help in illuminating your path as well as acting as an objective to find them all. Early on the levels give off very little sign of a challenge and are more of a walk through, which can be off putting to seasoned platformer players. Although the game slowly starts to pick up and provide more of a challenge and introduce new gameplay elements, light puzzles and varied level design. There a handful of wonderfully creative and fun ideas at work utilizing light and reflections that show off the best of what Candleman is. With such an emphasis put on light it would be in poor execution to not show off some great shadows and lighting effects. Luckily Spotlightor Interactive came through in spades. The game world, spanning across 12 chapters is a fantastically crafted example of how great levels can look in the dimmest of lights.
In the end Candleman: The Complete Journey is a fun adventure through darkness and purposeful meaning. Spotlightor Interactive shined a light on its own path so not to fall in with the other platformers. It’s not meant to be as bright and bold , but still has the ability to encapsulate personality within something as basic as a candle. Still would have liked a run button though.