Light Tracer originally launched on Playstation VR last year and follows a tiny anime-style girl as she navigates a treacherous tower. While you, of course, use your ‘godlike’ powers to help guide her and find out what happened to her country along the way. Light Tracer basically feels like the Super Mario of VR – except it’s not quite as challenging and, well, the main character isn’t an Italian plumber looking for his princess. You’re playing with the princess this time around.
Light Tracer is a puzzle platformer from publisher Oasis Games that also released on Steam this week for HTC Vive. According to a press statement, Oculus Rift support is coming later this month. For the PC VR release, the developers have updated and optimized the game’s visual quality, and upgraded the operating system for a more natural control. I got to try the game out using a Vive and liked its simple gameplay and colorful visuals but felt that it isn’t as challenging as it could be and that the game doesn’t reward you enough for any challenges you overcome.
Check out the trailer below:
In terms of gameplay, Light Tracer is quite simple. I had a staff in my right hand with which I controlled the little blond princess’s movements. The control felt fluid and the character followed my hand movements with no discernable latency. With the other hand, I could move the Tower of Bellbatis around to get the best tactical view. Now, while I wouldn’t have called this a ‘tower’ exactly, it is very well-designed with lots of pathways and puzzles to overcome as I descended ever higher. There were also various platforms that I could manipulate with my left hand in order to let the princess progress forward. Which I liked because I was afraid that my one hand would be left as an afterthought and underutilized.
In terms of looks, Light Tracer has a very pleasing, ‘cutesy’ visual style, and it was the pathways of the tower that actually reminded me of Super Mario the most. Which, of course, invoked an instant feeling of nostalgia for the days when I sat glued to the television screen trying to make it through to the next level.
The Princess character in Light Tracer has no lives, meaning that when she falls or bumps into an enemy and dies then she just respawns at the nearest checkpoint. Which in turn means that my heart didn’t do that little sputter anytime I messed up and I didn’t really care all that much when she died because the drawback was minimal. So while the puzzles themselves brought some challenge to the game, Light Tracer itself doesn’t actually feel very hard. However, the plus side here is that there’s also almost no frustration to be had. Plus the game’s beautiful soothing soundtrack also makes it pretty hard to not feel zen while playing this game.
I Will Not Give Up!
Since Light Tracer doesn’t require you to move your feet, and because you can move the game’s whole platform around with your hand; it’s comfortably played either seated or standing. I tested out the game’s physics by making the princess jump over strange obstacles and falling a lot to see how she plummets down, and for the most part, the physics in Light Tracer are pretty solid. I also tested out the few enemies you encounter on the path to the top and while some of them do ignore you and stick to their set path, others followed me around quite a bit. The boss fights that happened every few levels were also surprisingly challenging as I guided the princess’s sword in strategically timed attacks.
The game has intuitive gameplay mechanics that are extremely easy to figure out, though the game does have a tutorial that takes you through the first parts of the first level to help you along. I felt that most of the tutorial wasn’t all that necessary at times and it was kind of jarring too and could have been better implemented than a sudden black screen with some wording and pictures. However, I’m sure a lot of people will still find it welcome.
Let The Light Guide Your Path
There’s a nice variety of puzzles in Light Tracer as well as some fights later on, even though most of the gameplay remains the same. However, I would have liked to have had some way of keeping track of my progress because at times it just felt like I kept going for the sake of completing the level. There’s no scoring system or incentive to really keep going besides the coins you can collect throughout the levels. These can be used to buy new outfits for the princess. Which is okay incentive-wise, but I wasn’t particularly motivated to collect enough coins to buy them.
Overall, Light Tracer is a very simple game in terms of game mechanics and storyline but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It makes the game accessible to young and old alike and I believe that if you have kids then they’ll definitely like this game. Plus the difficulty ramps up at a steady pace which makes for a smooth experience right to the top.
So if you’re looking for a VR platformer that tests your dexterity and quick thinking at times while being simple enough that your kids can play it too then you’ve found what you’re looking for in Light Tracer.