Alight


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Rating: 4/5 (102 votes)
| Comments (32) | Views (732)

Kyh
kyh_alight_ruins.jpgTwofold Secret likes to tell stories through their games, and in their newest release, Alight, a platformrevealing the tale of the unnamed protagonist, who is struggling through some deeply personal issues. Like the developer's previous releases, Where We Remain and Sanctuary 17, the narrative unfolds through messages you discover as you explore the surreal world. Use the [arrow] keys, or the [spaceber] in place of [up], to move the character throughout his dream world, represented by the disturbed surroundings of his real life. Having wings in his dream, something we can all identify with, continuing to hold [up] after an initial jump will allow him to float through the air from which you can again propel yourself upward. A bar at the top of the screen indicates the amount of flight power you have left, each propulsion using a set amount, which is reset when you either land on a surface or get picked up by a flock of birds.

The goal of each of the seven levels, dream revelations aside, is to find a platform with three items, one of which you must take back to an empty pillar in the main building of the level. Your choice of items on each level changes the tone of the story as you play. Once you've chosen an item, a maze of fatal shadows appears, forcing you to alter your course to get home. The item you select affects your trip in different ways, sometimes forcing you through a different route altogether. The candle gives you a shield of light to ward against certain flying hazards, and the feather gives you an additional use of your flight power to reach distant platforms. Instead of an advantage, the alarm clock imposes a time limit on your return trip, which may seem like a reason to avoid it completely, but there is a reason its an option...

To help ease the frustration of the shadow challenges, you can activate torches along your route that act as save spots. Once you've put the item you chose in its rightful place, a previously unusable door will become available for you to use to exit to the next level. After stepping through that seventh door, you can see the end of the story unfold. While I found the plot somewhat predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay, which was challenging without being too frustrating. Learning how to fly effectively takes some work, especially in regards to catching a ride with a flock of birds and being propelled by directional wind. If you have an hour or so, I recommend getting lost in the atmospheric music and playing through at least once... like me you may even be tempted to return to the dream again to master all the levels and uncover the secret ending.

Play Alight

32 Comments

It's not loading for me. Just a white screen.

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dylpickles August 2, 2011 1:18 PM

Same as MtDewed. I'm just getting a white screen after the ads. Unless that screen is the load screen, something's wrong.

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Anonymous August 2, 2011 1:47 PM

Try refreshing, I'm at the title right now.

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Crabbadon August 2, 2011 2:48 PM

Nice, but I simply couldn't find the last door

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hothotpot August 2, 2011 3:42 PM

I assume there are different endings depending on what items you pick. The game is long enough that I don't want to immediately go back to after having played through once, but enjoyable enough that I will try again to get different endings.

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Anonymous August 2, 2011 3:53 PM

Does the final level contain a secret exit?

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Richard Duncan August 2, 2011 4:17 PM

Try refreshing, worked for me :)

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fetchund August 2, 2011 5:17 PM

Might just be that I am missing something, but I can't survive the first screen... all I can do is float til I drop into the void. Where am I trying to go?

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Bleh. Stuck on the *college* level, after the LONG right-bound wind and the large gaps. I don't see anywhere else to go, but it keeps returning me below a down-draft.
I haven't taken my item yet.

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hothotpot August 2, 2011 6:33 PM

Does anyone know if there is a candle in the Planetarium level? I swear I've looked all over and cannot find one, just the feather and the alarm clock.

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I found the feather in the planetarium, but then I reached a fork where I couldn't get enough height to reach the ledge on the left, or get past the downward blowing wind on the right.

My interest waned about then. The levels are gorgeous, but the interesting details are too far in between.

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Anonymous August 2, 2011 9:01 PM

@hothotpot:

There is a candle in that level. It's a ways to the left of the feather, at about the same height. Just keeping moving to the left from their and you'll find it.

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awfully elaborate for a

fire safety public service message

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The game kinda reminds me of the other interactive flash(not really a game) "Flyfuy".

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Anonymous August 3, 2011 12:23 AM

The only thing that really changes besides mechanics between the items is that the "colored" smoke messages change. It also follows more coherently if you did them all with the same item. I haven't replayed all the levels though. A thing to note is that you can press down when flying in blue birds to leave the flock and not get pulled into blackness. It took till the last level for me to actually find this out >>

The game is a decent platformer with a ok story. Unfortunately, the story itself is not something you are immersed into unless you handle to have some similar memories. I wished there was a map or at least a radar or something for the later levels where you might not know where to go and a number of dead ends. Perhaps this is the exploration aspect of it, but the great emptiness between things made it somewhat more frustrating than enticing. The fact that there's really only finding the 3 items that's of importance also lends to that. If the game had placed a number of "collectables", perhaps items that gave less important memories/stories, the exploration aspect might have worked better.

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Nice game, good story. I replayed it to see a different ending: didn't find too much trouble in the routes. Still gotta try the alarm clock one.

Also, its at the end of the second paragraph should be "it's". I'm a nitpicker.

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Where's the alarm clock in the Planetarium level?

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Secret exit to level 7:

After putting the object on the podium, instead of going through the door drop off the bottom of the level. I've only tested this on an alarm clock run, but it may work on others.

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FanofMusic August 3, 2011 10:56 AM

To hell with the gameplay
the music is awesome.. why play when you can bask?

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Following up on my last comment

It seems you do need to collect the alarm clocks to get to the secret level. I guess this makes more sense story wise.

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I've managed to reach the secret level 8. However:

I seem to have to keep going up (which is down for some reason.). And I noticed that after some time, the character starts to disappear, until he is completely gone, which gives me a bad ending.

Possibly due to what I read, he suffocated from the... fire smoke?

I also noticed hooded figures, when you touch them, I got no idea what that did. Anyone can help me?

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Anonymous August 3, 2011 2:09 PM

Nephyte:

The cyan guys give you more time/air. You need to wait a bit when you touch them to get their effect. Don't know if there's a way to "win" it though. Reached a point after like 4 cyans and went a long route that might have been a dead end as I reached the "top" without any exits or such.

You get a different ending if you fall "down" as compared to time out, but rather not keep doing lvl 7 all over again to try and find a true exit to 8 if there is even any.

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Anonymous August 3, 2011 2:12 PM

I have trouble praising what looks like an imaginative game when it is seemingly impossible to leave the first level.

Maybe I'm blind, but you can't get past the brick wall behind the house, you can't reach the platform on the other side, and there's nowhere to go to the right of the house or down. So, basically, nowhere to go and nothing to do. The door won't open.

You might want to consider making your level design a little more forgiving right off the bat if you want people to enjoy your game and play it, instead of post snarky comments and give up in frustration. Frustration is not why we play games, even puzzle / exploration ones. Just a suggestion.

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Okay, I've received four endings:

Collect all the candles

Collect all the feathers

Collect all the alarm clocks 1

You are still in the burning house.

Collect all the alarm clocks 2

You descend into space before dying from smoke inhalation.

Does anyone know if there's a different ending besides those four? I feel like I haven't completed the game yet...

... shouldn't there be another ending during the descent into space? Like, you reach a certain distance or something?

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where is the dorm?

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Spazz:

One of the paths going off to the left (at a fork with a cyan guy on the first platform to the right IIRC) leads to another door. There's also a LONG path downward on the right-hand side, but short of altering game variables I don't think you can get enough air to get down that far.

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The first level gave me the impression that this was going to be an art game on the theme of memory, but by the third level I decided that it was a platformer on the theme of deliberately frustrating control schemes. That's a legitimate subgenre, but not one I enjoy. I also didn't enjoy exploring the huge, open un-signposted levels. I'm often willing to do a lot of jumping and respawning and jumping and respawning to get at the next nugget of story, but not when I finally reach a distant, isolated platform and find out there's nothing to do but fall forever or float back where I started...

Since none of the other reviews have mentioned this kind of thing, it may be that I'm just unusually bad at this particular game. In which case my criticism isn't really applicable, and I'm sorry about the negativity.

On the other hand, I did like the feel of exploring the level, while also trying to imagine how I'd use different paths and platforms after the shadows appeared. Having the black birds present but inactive was also a nice touch. The choice of items changing the feel of the escape sequence, and corresponding to multiple story paths, also seemed intriguing. I'd have liked to explore it if I had more patience / less trouble.

Two concrete suggestions:
1) Most of the game seemed graceful, except that the protagonist couldn't walk up stairs or slopes. Having to hop up stairs one step at a time was awkward, and it didn't look like an intentional challenge or aesthetic decision.

2) There were a few places where I wanted to start gliding without flapping my wings first. If that's intended to be possible, then it would help to have a separate (optional?) glide key. If it's not intended to be possible, then the developer might want to disable the trick where you

land on a platform while holding the spacebar, and then walk off it while continuing to hold it down.

For example, this made it a lot easier to

get into the basement holding the three items on level 2.

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Im stuck in the planetarium!!!

Where are the three items

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There is a fifth ending

On the last level, if you've collected every clock, you can jump down into the void, and you will reach level 8. Just keep heading down, and *keep heading left* Remembering to pick up any glowing figures to replenish your health. If you did it right, you will reach a door, enter it to see the ending.

Also, if your too lazy to reach the last ending, I can tell you what happens

He says he didn't want to kill himself, he just wanted to say goodbye to his mother.

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inhumandecency: If you read this, no, you're not alone. I really admire Chris Klimas's work; I just put Blue Chairs on my list of favorite interactive fiction (incidentally

having played through that, it's pretty obvious what this guy's fate will be from the third smoke signal

) and though I haven't been able to finish any Twofold Secret game I recognize that the difficulty of the other two is essential to their theme.

Not this one, though. There are some very nice platforming moments, as when you jump from flock to flock in the black smoke, but there's far too many design choices that seem designed to deliberately frustrate the player. By the third level, the extended look command was useless, forcing try-and-die gameplay.

In at least one place you have to fall down a long vertical corridor, only to discover that the platform at the bottom is off to the left.

And the checkpoint placement is not well done. If you have a very difficult challenge, you should put a checkpoint before it as well as after it, so the player won't have to replay a long sequence leading up to it every time he fails. This is particularly egregious because of the try-and-die gameplay.

And why oh why do you restart at the last platform in the easy sections, while the hard sections make you go all the way back to the infrequent save points? It's perverse to make me replay the most frustrating parts more. Even Don't Look Back had save points every screen or two.

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