Published on April 25th, 2023 | by S. Masoud Kazemi
Strayed Lights Review
Summary: Strayed Lights isn't the best indie game you will play, but it is worth a try.
Strayed Lights is a stylish combat game set in a wonderful but mysterious world where players have to understand and solve the mystery of what is going on here. Strayed Lights was developed by Embers, the studio that brought us Lost Ember. Strayed Lights shares a similar atmospheric game design which makes the game unique.
In the game, you are controlling a being that can switch between Blue and Orange energies. Throughout the game, you will realize that your destination and object are to reach a state where you can balance these energies. It’s That game was inspired by Yin and Yang philosophy, which is a beautiful thing, and the fact that Strayed Lights used it not as a simple story factor but as something in the gameplay is amazing.
And it’s not just you in the game. There are other beings just like you on the same journey and you will also meet some creatures that have been corrupted due to suppressing their feelings and needs. The game revolves around psychological ideas but fails to go in deep for most of the game and only manages to scratch the surface.
But what made me appreciate Strayed Lights was the fact that there is no dialogue in the game. Throughout the game, everything you have to know is either shown to you or you figure it out by yourself. It’s a mixture of Inside storytelling with Souls games, that have some of the best narrative designs. But because the story itself lacks depth, the full potential of this narrative design is wasted, but not entirely. The fact that Embers Studio decided to choose such a difficult narrative is impressive on its own.
Dark Souls isn’t the only game from FromSoftware that Strayed Lights was inspired by. Matter of fact the majority of the gameplay is coming straight from Sekiro: Shadow Die Twice. Your main weapon in the game isn’t attacking but rather parrying the attacks that come your way.
Similar to you, enemies also have a Blue and Orange energy that you have to match the color before deflecting them. There are also corrupt energies that cannot be deflected and you have to dodge them. It works as a heavy attack sort of thing. For the most part, you will enjoy the flow of gameplay, but the feeling of repetitiveness is inevitable.
Even though the game is highly inspired by FromSoftware games, the game isn’t challenging compared to Souls games. The game manages to propose some challenges, especially in the boss fights, but not as much as Dark Souls for instance. It is safe to say Strayed Lights is a good game to play before actually starting to play the Souls series.
Speaking of boss fights, the general enemies design of the game is fine but it certainly lacks variety. After playing for a few hours you will become the master of the game without even worrying about upgrading, and all you want to do is reach the next boss fight.
The skill tree of Strayed Lights is not unique or different but compared to most games there are some fresh ideas. Unfortunately, the game suffers from an unimportant skill tree issue which we see in many games nowadays. Putting skill points in the skill tree does help you but the experience from using the skills and not using them is very similar which raises the question of why is there even a skill tree.
But there is one thing that Strayed Lights does a perfect job in, and that is the camera design. In recent years, many soul-like and hack-and-slash games fail to have a good camera, even Elden Ring had some issues in this regard. But Strayed Lights has a much more dynamic camera its value will be noticed when you are facing boss fights that are much bigger than you. How it shifts from one angle to another to give you a full view of everything going on on the stage is brilliant.
There is not much to say about the audio and music of the game rather than it does its job. You probably won’t remember most of the tracks after the game ends, but you will enjoy it while playing the game. The same goes for the art style of Strayed Light which is something we have seen many times before.
Strayed Lights is a decent game with some good ideas but can’t use them to their full potential. The gameplay and enemy design will become repetitive after a while, but the narrative design of it is bold and something we don’t see often. Strayed Lights isn’t the best indie game of this year but it is worth a play if you are looking for something new.