CANDLE

 

Genre:     Platform adventure

Developer:   Teku Studios

Publisher:   Daedalic Entertainment             

Released:    November 2016            

Requirements (recommended):

    • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 10 (64 bit versions)
    • Processor: 3.6 GHz Dual Core CPU
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6670, GeForce GTX 260 or better
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 12 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Sound Card with Latest Drivers
    • Shader Model 3.0 must be supported

 

 

By flotsam

 

Candle

Daedalic/Teku Studios

If your bent is towards keyboard (or gamepad) driven platform style adventures, in a word Candle is a gem. An imperfect one, but still a gem. Think Limbo and Inside, but colourful and whimsical.

It looks gorgeous. Lavish hand-painted watercolours create a world that is a delight to be in. The website calls it a living painting, and that is a fairly apt description.

There is a South American flavour to things, and it flows through to the soundtrack. It can be jaunty, lyrical, melancholic... In short, it sounds nearly as good as it looks.

That includes the ambient sound and the voices. Most voices are sing-song gibberish, little picture bubbles indicating what is being said. The game is narrated, and the narrator will occasionally step in and decipher the pictures. When I thought I understood the conversation, it was useful confirmation. When I didnít, it was a helpful insight.

Before we leave the narrator, he was as top notch as everything else. And by the end I think I realised he was one of the central characters.

The plot centres on Teku, a young man out to rescue his tribe's shaman from the nasty Wakcha Clan. Teku has tenacity and a candle for a left hand. Light it to scare things away or illuminate the gloom, but watch out for rain. A candle is also essential for other special actions. There is a fairy tale quality to proceedings, and ultimately things are not what they seemed.

Being a platform game, Tekuís efforts arenít all plain sailing, and attention to detail and a willingness to try things is essential.

Also being a platform game, Teku can die, though not by falling off things. Walk to an edge and he will stop and wait for further instructions. Death may however be around the corner; mistime a jump, fall too far, fail to avoid the guards, donít avoid the arrow in time, fail to outwit the bees Ė all manner of things can bring Teku undone. Usefully though he will be restored to a point before the failure, whether you saved or not, and you can have another go. Saving regularly at the fairly frequent save pods is nonetheless desirable.

You will need to fail to work out how to succeed. Such is the nature of these games. Some solutions were beyond me; while I made incremental advancements through trying things and failing, some sequences or combinations or timings, or all three, eluded me. Having looked at a walkthrough to move on, some of the more elaborate and complex would possibly still be beyond me. 

I expect that though in these types of games. If every step was like that, then you would quickly lose interest. There are so many of them however, and so many opportunities to succeed, that each one provides encouragement, sometimes even a thrill (leaping the lion-like beast up the walls and ricocheting back and forth was one of those) and a silent pat on the back when you succeed. I felt compelled and encouraged to keep going. 

Tekuís world is a big one too, bigger in some parts, but if you are stuck there are generally other places to go and see what you can do. Which also means there are many places to look for things, which you will need to do assiduously.

Given its platform style, you essentially move left and right and up and down. There are a few screens where you can move from the foreground to the background, but these happen by selecting the particular icon and Teku will then run there himself. By no means though does this limit the feeling of spaciousness, partly because of the elaborate nature of the world.

Being keyboard/gamepad driven, you donít explore the environment other than with Teku. If he is in a place he can do something, a relevant icon will (generally) appear. The exception is his special candle power, for which you will get no indication that it is needed or that anything can in fact be done in that location. As you go on, you will get a sense of the sort of places it might be useful, but I did find this aspect more opaque than it could have been.

Which is a nice segue to another aspect. More than being opaque, there a few parts of the environment that you canít see until you try and enter a part you canít see. There is nothing in the game to suggest you try and go there, and while I stumbled upon one, I needed a walkthrough to identify a couple of others.

There are also occasions where the lack of feedback from the game about what you might need effectively prevents you from looking for what you might need. The blacksmith is a case in point; he says he needs you to start his furnace to fix a lever, but when you do, you canít move on without giving him something else that he doesnít tell you about so you donít know there is something else you need. Candle is not Robinson Crusoe in that respect, but at times a little more direction would have been appreciated.

The endgame involves a timed puzzle that itself isnít that difficult, but which again I had to fail a few times to solve, and for which I didnít find a clue in the environment. That might have been me.

There are some out and out puzzles throughout, and one game of skill that is exactly that. You can play with subtitles or not and tweak some settings. There are Steam achievements (I got about half) and I invested over 30 hours in getting to the end. Again, that might have said more about me, but there is no way this is a short game.

If you like these sorts of game, Candle demands your attention.

I played on:

OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit

Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz

RAM: 32GB GDDR5

Video card: AMD Radeon RX 470 8192MB

 

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