Light

Common Sense Media says

Visually impressive stealth game is unexpectedly brief.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game's near-future narrative is embedded with warnings about intrusive technology and private corporations that wield too much power. 

Positive role models

The player's nameless protagonist has suffered an invasive experimental medical procedure that has left him with no memory. His goal is to find out what was done to him, then alert the press and the world about it, but he needs to kill at least a couple of characters to do so. He might also kill guards and even civilians, if the player chooses.  

Ease of play

Simple instructions pop up whenever the player can take an action, except when he or she is taking control of a computer to unlock doors and switch off security cameras. Some levels will require several attempts as players learn guard movement patterns and the locations of useful objects. 

Violence

Players can "kill" both guards and civilians by tapping the space bar when they're near them, but the act of killing isn't graphic. Characters are just glowing squares. If they die, they simply glow a bit less and stop moving.    

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

No privacy or safety concerns.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Light is a downloadable stealth infiltration game with minimal violence. The action is viewed from a top-down perspective, and all characters are represented by glowing squares. Players have the option of killing other characters -- including civilians, which is a bit troubling -- but death simply causes a square to lose its glow and stop moving. There's no blood, gore, or violent animations of any sort. Despite the characters' depiction as simple squares, some have personalities, including the protagonist, whose goal is to take down an evil corporation that's performed medical experiments on him. But his initially sympathetic and courageous character may be tarnished if players choose to kill innocents.

What's it about?

LIGHT begins with the player's character waking in a room with no memory of who he is. Through notes found in the environment, he soon realizes he's been the subject of a corporate experiment that has left him with a ruined memory. Escaping the room, he works to discover what's been done to him and to bring down the corporation behind it. Each level is presented top-down, almost like looking at a blueprint. Walls and furniture are depicted via glowing white-line drawings, creating a futuristic vibe. The characters appear as simple squares with dots in the middle. Each character type has its own color: Guards are red, your hero is bright blue. The player's goal is to make it to each level's exit, avoiding guards, collecting files, unlocking doors, and switching off security cameras along the way. Run into a guard, whose vision is represented as a cone of light stretching before him, and you can try to escape, ducking around corners and going through doors to lose him. You also can choose to kill him, but this will start a level timer counting down to the arrival of reinforcements, lowering your score and potentially making the level a lot more difficult to complete.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It's easy to fall for Light's look and feel. The blueprint-like levels are beautifully designed, and the powerful electronic soundtrack conjures the scores of Hollywood spy films. The action is appealingly simple. The WASD keys move your little square hero around, and the Q, E, and 3 keys perform actions such as opening doors, hacking computers, and putting on disguises that make you harder to spot.

And yet it's not quite satisfying. Part of the problem is that the story feels threadbare, ending before it's even begun. It merely scratches the surface of some interesting ideas, including the brain's capacity to store vast amounts of information. The reason it doesn't dig deeper can be chalked up to the game's curious brevity: It can be finished in less than an hour. Level scoring means a modicum of replay value exists for players who want to spend time trying to find the most efficient way through each level, but they'll be in the minority. Light is a fun and pretty little game. It just needs more…well, more of everything. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media in games like Light. This game includes killing -- both bad guys and civilians -- but doesn't actually show any violence. Does this graphically mild depiction meaningfully change the effect of virtual killing?

  • Discuss the role of corporations in our world. Some corporations are larger and wealthier than some of the world's governments. Should this be cause for concern? Do you think most corporations are capable of holding back their capitalist interests if earning profits causes harm to people?   

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows
Price:$12.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Team 17
Release date:July 14, 2014
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:NR for No rating (Mac, Windows)

This review of Light was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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