Adorable anthropomorphized candles in danger from evil shadow creatures? It sort of sounds like something you'd expect from Pixar, doesn't it? But the demo for Candlelight, the upcoming platform adventure by Pixel Maverick Games, is all indie. You play the lone surviving candle in a world that's literally going dark as ominous shadows have been snuffing out all the other candles and light sources one by one. This is no time to stand around quivering in your wax, however, as it's up to you to find and relight the candles strewn around the windswept world. Use the [arrow] keys to move, hold [A] to run, use [S] to roll things, and tap the [spacebar] to jump and double-jump. At the top of the screen is your wax meter, which slowly depletes, so you'll need to find and collect wax droplets to keep it fill and your candle alive. Avoid water and gusts of wind, naturally, since it'll tack a big whack out of your wax meter, and if your wax runs out, you'll be booted back to the last camp you activated.
Though still just a demo, Candlelight does a great job of showcasing a taste of what the final product will be like, and packs in just enough new tricks to keep you hooked throughout. Despite its lovely 3D look, Candlelight's gameplay feels very classic in an early console platformer sort of way as you gain new abilities and attacks, and things like the way ice melts around you are a nice touch. The movement is nice and responsive, while the atmosphere is top notch... just the right blend of creepy and whimsy. At the same time, however, while beautiful with its shadows and lighting, Candlelight just feels a little... random. True, the demo is just one level and the full version will likely offer a lot more, but that one level comes across as scattered. Some vaguely Egyptian scenery here, a castle there, and isolated snowstorm... it shows off a lot of tricks, sure, but it doesn't feel cohesive. Likewise, while there are some puzzle and action elements, none of them are really very fleshed out, and more chances to use our candle's abilities to solve obstacles would have really helped captivate the audience. Still, taken purely as a demo, Candlelight shows a ton of promise, and should have classic platforming fans looking forward to the final product when it finally appears.