Review: ARCHAICA: THE PATH OF LIGHT

Archaica: The Path of Light is the debut game from TwoMammoths. You get to manipulate light to solve puzzles in ruin-themed locations. Honestly, I saw that it was a puzzle game and was sold, but was it good?

Story

Archaica doesn’t have a story. I thought it was going to, based on some of the promotional materials, but there wasn’t one. There is some lore that you can uncover throughout the levels, but no actual story. This was a bit of a disappointment to me since I thought there was going to be an actual story as to why you are solving these puzzles.

Gameplay

This is 100% a puzzle game. I love puzzles, so I naturally was very excited about playing Archaica. You manipulate beams of light to hit crystals and power gates to the next level. The manipulation is done with mirrors, light splitters, and more. Your job is to simply put them in the right place. Sounds easy, but some of the puzzles get hard when you must have one laser beam hit 4 crystals in opposite directions and you have 2 mirrors and a beam splitter.
 
There are also two types of hidden objects in each level: cells and cryptoglyphs. Cells can be used to give you hints as well as unlock achievements. There are usually three per level. Simply look around the level in some obscure areas at the right angle to find them, click, and voila you have access to the hint if you want. The other type of hidden object is the cryptoglyph that unlocks lore or other useful information after you find them all.

Graphics

In this day and age, I don’t think the graphics are necessarily something to write home about, but the game is still beautiful. This is a pretty game with good quality textures and models. It may not be a unique looking game, but that’s not always a bad thing. The levels are also fun because they have an ancient ruins vibe to them.

Sound

Archaia has some great atmosphere sounds to help draw you in, but I didn’t find the soundtrack amazing. It fits the game well, but I wouldn’t get this game for the sounds. This makes it great for people that want to mute their game and blast their playlist. If you like your games to have a fleshed-out soundtrack, be prepared to be disappointed.

Replayability

This game will either have plenty of replay value for you, or it won’t. If you are the kind of person that wants to make sure you get all the hidden objects, you’ll probably go back and play through this a couple of times. Or, if you just like puzzle games and don’t have a photographic memory, this would be fun to go at again after a while. If you have a photographic memory, this is probably a play-once-and-then-recommend-it-to-friends type deal.

What Could Be Better

I could not find any way to revisit the lore I had unlocked via the cryptoglyphs. I wanted to go back and take time to look over the history of this world, but could not find any place to do so. A little area in the menu or with the achievements where you could look back over the cryptograms would go a long way to helping immerse the player into the lore of this world. Also, after you beat a level, you have to go back into it to discover if you’re missing any of the hidden objects. If there was a window just before selecting a level, to tell you what you’re missing, that would save the player a step and improve the flow of things.

Verdict

I love puzzle games. This is a great puzzle game that feels new. I was disappointed because I thought it would have more of a story, but that’s not a deal breaker for me on this game. If you need or want your games to have a story, Archaica is not for you. It has lore in it which is interesting (maybe they could create a follow-up game about some of that), but no reason for solving the puzzles beyond, “I like to solve puzzles!” If you don’t like puzzle games, this game is not for you. If you like puzzle games, this is a fun game. The puzzles typically take a decent amount of thinking to solve once you get past the first tier of levels. All the puzzle games I’ve played in the past tend to feel stale after the first few levels, but Archaica never got stale for me.
 

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