Alone in the Light


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DoraAlone in the LightThere's nothing cold about Alone in the Light, an exploration-themed platformer from the mind of Chelsea Howe. Apart from the temperature, that is. Not that you're bothered, being a magical polar bear and all. When colourful, musical shards of light fall from the sky, you're compelled to track all 21 of them down to reunite them, so use the [WASD] or [arrow] keys to run, jump, and swim through the frozen loneliness. You don't have a map, since you ate your cartographer ('cause you're a bear), so you need to rely on sound to locate the shards. Pressing the down key while standing on land will cause you to call out, and the closest shard will answer with a tone and a pulse of light that indicates its direction.

In a lot of ways, Alone in the Light is an absolutely gorgeous little game, and the touches left by Michael Molinari and the rest of Chelsea's talented team (Hannah Brady, George Karalis, and Kim Koskamp) combine to make a world as rich in frozen atmosphere as it is in style. It's straightforward enough that it's almost more of an interactive art piece, but one worth experiencing. 21 pieces almost seems like too many from time to time, given that there's nothing else to do but run around collecting them, and sometimes navigation can be a bit of a pain as you figure out how to get up or around certain bits of land. But with a stunning, melancholy style and one of the loveliest credit sequences around, Alone in the Light is a little depressing, but beautiful nonetheless.

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31 Comments

I love that bear. I don't know why, but I do. I don't have sound at work, so I kept making bear noises in my head every time I pressed down (and I was very grateful that there was a visual cue too, or I don't think I could have finished). When I realized what the shards formed, I was pretty delighted. Yes, a little sad at the end, but a nice use of 10 minutes.

The only thing I didn't like was the platform detection. More than three times I fell through a platform and had to make my way up a long hike. Frustrating.

I played through the game without frustration and thought the platform detection worked very well. I also fell through platforms from time to time... when I wasn't exactly on them. Works as it should, imo.

It's a short game, but beautifully conceived and rendered. The calling out to nearby shards was a brilliant solution to not knowing where to go next. A really nice experience overall.

@frickineh

I'm very glad you said "in my head," otherwise, I would have wondered a bit about you on behalf of your coworkers.

Yeah, I know exactly the spot you mean -- it was the platform set-up. There was an in-game clue

which in my opinion didn't really work because of the relative non-importance of the background elements. Not to mention I suspect that platform not being visible was not intentional -- it might have been the fuzzy white border obscuring it, i.e. a purely stylistic choice.

Except if you missed it, the penalty was climbing all the way back up and over and then... missing it again. It generated a disproportionate amount of frustration for a single gimmick.

That said, I would've enjoyed it immensely if the font effects hadn't been so... 90s video toaster? I dunno, I'm a font snob, and it made the words seem trite, and a poor pairing for the lovely audio.

Visually it's a huge element, it just seemed less thought-out.

Shudog, Jay,

I know what you're talking about, and I landed directly in the middle of the platform twice, only to watch my bear pass right through the dead center and fall back into the water. I had made the platform before without any issue, but then having to fall through the very middle of the platform twice in a row was extra frustrating since I hadn't had that problem before.

It didn't stop me from completing the game, but I was just frustrated.

I really wanted to find all the shards but the game positively put me to a catatonic state. I mean there's boring, there's REALLY boring, there's watching-Windows-install boring and finally there's "Alone in the light".

There's mean, there's nasty, there's heartless, and finally there's baba44713.

Are readers not allowed to post their feelings on a game, or is this space reserved strictly for blind praise?

Who said anything about disallowing comments?

Am I not allowed to post my feelings about a comment posted here?

If it were just another poster I'd agree with you, but seeing as how it's your name on the site, it kinda feels like you're scolding him. I didn't find it quite as boring as he obviously did, but I didn't find his comment mean in the least, just stating his opinion that he found it extremely boring. Don't see anything wrong with that.

Just saying man, like it or not, you're going to be a voice of authority all the time.

I understand that, but authority or not, I'm also entitled to my opinion. And here it is...

I was being snarky towards baba, a long time visitor, since he rarely has anything nice to say when he comments and usually doesn't provide constructive criticism or spare the developers' feelings at all.

These are, after all, real people who are putting their hearts and souls out there for people to enjoy their creations. It's fine to dislike a game and to post comments about not liking it. But at least have a heart when doing so, and be constructive about it. Or is that asking too much?

Didn't realize there was history. If so, then I see your point.

Carry on.

very pretty but the poetry is atrocious.

Maybe say so and not be rude.

On topic, I agree I liked the crystal finding mechanic, story is a bit gloomy and I confess waiting for the music at the end to stop not knowing I had to do something, whoops.

Sorry, I was trying to be funny, not rude.

hm. This game would probably have been more fun if I'd noticed the down-key mechanic much much earlier than 24 shards in.

Platforminess still needs work.

I don't mind Jay being rude.

I do mind him telling I rarely offer constructive criticism, since I think he has some serious tunnel vision there. I always tell my honest feelings about something. Always. And I try to do it concisely so not to waste anyone's time, and snarky tone usually gets the point across much quicker.

As for this game it has lovely graphics, I can see someone put effort and soul into it. But I tried it, got frustrated by bear falling through solid matter and then finally bored to tears when I couldn't find one last shard since the path to it was so needlessly labyrinthine. Maybe there's a "lovely credit sequence", but I couldn't care less after plowing for half an hour in vein. So I told my experience with this offering as bluntly as I could. Sorry if it hurts anyone's feelings, but these were my honest reactions.

So anyways, I apologize for not realizing that "comment the game" meant "provide enthusiastic praise for the game". I'll keep that in mind next time I mistakenly start typing my subjective opinion about it.

I love how sometimes just reading the comments on this site makes you smarter!

JIG and Staff: Thanks again for putting together such an open air, (hopefully) non-offensive casual game discussion system where everyone can say their piece, no matter what that piece may be, as well as providing a variety of games and game reviews in a convenient, kid-friendly site.

This is the only site I allow the kids in my family to visit for games because so many other sites are either close minded or offensive in the comments section. Here kids (and adults) can find new games to play, with a handy parental warning on ones that they shouldn't be playing, see other's opinions, and get help completing or understanding the game.

To other posters, please remember that this site is provided freely to us, and that if the owners/operators aren’t charging us for access, their personal opinions must be accepted as openly as one another’s. They are giving us something for nothing, so we shouldn’t get hoity about the presentation of a gift. If we were paying them to provide us with a service, it would be a different story, but as this is the almighty and equalizing internet, please play nice.

Now on to the important stuff: This game was, to me, a very well made piece of artwork overall. I did have some frustrations with the jumping on platforms, as polar bears do not possess brakes, and as some platforms tended to fade out. But as these difficulties arose later in the game, I was already too involved to rage quit. I never really paid attention to the poetry, but that is because I was, as previously stated, very zoned into this game. I really enjoyed the bear character, and the ending was worth my effort, though the very ending was slightly confusing. Is there more after the screen with the letters that wiggle when you press the keys? Overall, 4.5 out of 5 for good presentation, clean visuals, challenging (sometimes too challenging, hence the 4.5 instead of 5) gameplay, and a wonderful waste of 10-15 minutes.

Now, that's enough of my long-winded post. Thanks again for putting so much energy and effort into JIG, and allowing everyone to have opinions, too.

Chlorophyl? More like borophyl!

Well.

That was depressing.

(But pretty.)

I'm a little late to the party on this one... but did anyone even see past the credits?
I for one, am someone who doesn't care about graphics or mechanics in a game. I ask myself this question. "what memorable experience did I take away from this game?"

The creators of this game uses one of my most favorite type of hooks to get their message across. This is the same hook that was used in "Braid" and "Don't look back." (Two of my favorite games.) While the game is somewhat light, fluffy and seems to add very little innovation, it's only upon completing the game and watching past the credits (Collecting the Credits) does it come full circle with a retrospective punch that brings to light all that you did and what it meant.

Absolutely brilliant. This is a message that can only be understood if you finish the game in it's entirety. I would much rather play games with this kind of innovation having something powerfully meaningful to take away, than a mindless....
"my room is cluttered with junk! help me find 17 marshmallow leprechauns to level up my rainbow unicorn spider monkey attack."

Not a bad game, but I really think the movement speed should be increased. It takes forever!

I regret making it all the way through. The gameplay was frustrating at times. I came thinking it was a visual art game, but to me it was purely a platformer with some visual art elements tacked on. I LOVED the credit sequence though, that was very clever.
I have no opinion on whatever words were crawling across the top of the screen, as I was focused on the task at hand. "Yeah, yeah. That's nice, leave me alone. I'm a polar bear and I've got shards to collect."
But then the very VERY end text after the fantastic credit sequence felt like a complete slap in the face! As if they were telling me off for playing their game! Well screw you guys, you don't get a nice review. >:(

Also, A tip: use WASD or the arrow keys, but not both. I like to use one hand for navigating and the other to jump, but when you combine the keys your bear lags like crazy. Either that or my polar bear just personally is a lousy swimmer.

Beautiful game, graphics and final message. Those who complain about speed or boredom should take care with their medication for attention disorders. It's not our or the creators' fault that you lack patience to play an EXPLORATION game (which even has a hint system by the down arrow which most platformers don't). Seriously when I read babawhatever's comment I got prepared for an hour of tedious exploration. Finished it in 12 minutes and I'm not even good at platformers lol.
By all means Dora and Jay please post more games like this if you find them. Talking about exploration, I love JIG for it's uncanny exploration talents for stuff I will either like a lot or love.

Wow! Thank you for such a beautiful game.

Just got to the rather unenlightened end message! It's as though it was written by someone else. Strange. Leave it out- it spoils it!

This was gorgeous - I'm surprised at all the negative feedback to be honest.
I didn't have any problems with platforms disappearing or anything of that nature. Yes, some shards were a bit tricky to get to, but that was the point! I really enjoyed puzzling out where they were and how to get there.
I have the world's shortest attention span but this game captured me. :)

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