Light manipulation puzzles aren’t a new concept. As such, they can lack originality and may be overlooked. However, I urge you to reconsider, as these puzzle titles are fun and will test you. Rayland is one such game that is simple to look at, easy to pick up, but quickly gets out of hand.
Developed by Noaka Games and Eastasiasoft Limited and published by the latter, this is a futuristic puzzle title. With light manipulation at its core, you must think outside of the box and often many steps ahead. As mentioned, you will be lulled into a false sense of security, as the action is deceptively simple. However, as you progress, you must contemplate many moves to arrive at a successful conclusion.
Rayland doesn’t tread new ground.
Even though the story has no impact, it is a constant influence throughout. The inhabitants of Rayland use energy from the Domus to survive. To transport it, they must use an ancient artefact known as a Reflectus. Accordingly, without your help, the people will perish and your mission will be over. In theory, this sounds like a dramatic and upbeat tale. However, in reality, it is slow, methodical, and plays second fiddle to the action.
Disappointingly, Rayland doesn’t tread new ground. Subsequently, every mechanic and stage feels familiar and lacks originality. Yes, it is still enjoyable, but I was desperate for a unique and fresh idea. The core mechanics centre on the Reflectus and their light-bending powers. You must pick up each of the artefacts and place them in the path of each laser. By doing this, you’ll reflect the beam and guide the energy around the stage to the end goal.
Alongside this basic idea, you must twist each of the Reflectus to manipulate the light beam. By doing so, you will solve each problem you face. However, this is just the beginning. As the action wears on, you must contemplate two light sources, aim for multiple goals, or combine the energy beams. As this happens, you must think further ahead and challenge the logical portion of your brain.
If you get stuck, you are doomed!
As explained, the problems quickly become much harder. Subsequently, failure is all but assured at some point. Yet, unlike its peers, no hint system has been implemented. As a consequence, if you get stuck, you are doomed. Therefore, it would have been better if a small hints and tips section were included, just in case.
Rayland has a simple but clean style.
Thanks to the basic level design, the developers could focus on a simple yet clean style. Subsequently, most of the stages utilise a minimalistic approach. With a contrasting colour palette and a futuristic look, this is easy on the eye. What’s more, its lack of complexity enables you to concentrate on solving the problems you face. Though its design won’t wow you, it won’t disappoint you either.
What impressed me, however, was the excellent audio. With light and airy tunes, it had a sci-fi edge and a relaxing vibe. This was the perfect choice for a game that was slow and methodical. Furthermore, the lack of sound effects was also fantastic. It would have been annoying to listen to inane noises while contemplating a solution.
The controls weren’t perfect.
With such a simple concept, you’d think the controls would be perfect. Sadly, though, this wasn’t the case. Mostly, they are serviceable, but occasionally, it is challenging to place the Reflectus on the correct square. Accordingly, this was frustrating and unnecessarily annoying. With a slight tweak to the hitboxes, I believe this problem would be irradiated. Other than this, it was simple to understand and easy to play.
Another shortcoming is the lack of replay value. Once you exhaust every level, you’ll have nothing to do. There are no collectables and there are no additional modes. Consequently, it lacks longevity. However, on the upside, it’s a completionist’s dream and is inexpensive to buy.
Rayland is good but lacks originality.
I enjoyed my time with Rayland, but it has its shortcomings. The most obvious of these is its lack of originality. If the developers add some DLC that explores new avenues, then it would be vastly improved. As it is, it’s a fun and challenging light manipulation game that is worthy of your time. Subsequently, I recommend you buy it here! Save the people of Rayland by altering the energy beams and solving the puzzles.