Archaica: The Path of Light (Xbox One) Review
Interest concept in which to build an entire game
Scouring each stage for optional secrets is sort of cool
Cannot tell what items have or have not been collected from the hub screen
Percussion heavy soundtrack is rather odd
Lacking hint system, tedious progression, difficult to distinguish playable pieces
You know those light reflecting puzzles found in 3D Zelda titles, the ones where you have to bank beams of light across the room using the mirror shield? Archaica: The Path of Light is essentially that concept but looks like a tower defense title.
The player is tasked with moving objects, often mirrors and light extenders, to have a beam of light hit a specific target to trigger the exit. Just like a tower defense title, each object can only be placed on specific tiles, then rotated using the shoulder buttons. While the overall concept creates a different type of puzzle game, the final execution lacks some fundamental housekeeping features that hold back the entire experience.
It can be difficult to distinguish which objects are interactive as they blend seamlessly against the environment without any highlight. For example, I would get stuck on a puzzle for way longer than I should have only to realize I was missing one piece that was tucked away in a corner. The musical score is also composed of an odd soundtrack too. The drum heavy beats combined with the ancient temple stone visuals seems like an army of possessed warriors is about to invade the play field.
This puzzle game also has a minor Where’s Waldo feature as the player is rewarding for clicking on white crystals spread throughout each stage, encouraging use of both analog sticks to adjust the camera angles. While it is a simple feature, it also can play as a detriment to completionists as the main menu doesn’t inform the player if everything has been collected in a stage. Some stages are also rather tricky as they involve multiple light reflecting pieces, often splitting in a couple directions at once. Therefore, it is a shame there is no hint system. Well, technically, there is a “hint” option but it doesn’t provide any help. It only displays some mumbo jumbo text that doesn’t mean anything and is too small to read. Since the player cannot progress to the next stage until the current stage is completed, the potential to rage quit from difficulty is high.
There is no timer, no move counter, and no leaderboards in this light reflecting title making it more of a casual experience. Unfortunately, with the high difficulty in the later stages and lack of hint system, Archaica: The Path of Light sends mixed signals. It is a unique concept in which to base an entire game and has some interesting qualities, but the non-user friendly interface shatters the mirror into seven years of bad luck.
Also available on PS4.
Also Try: watching Indy solve the light puzzle in Raiders of the Lost Ark
Don’t Forget About: LIT (WiiWare)
Wait For It: more mirror shield puzzles in the next Zelda game