Taking a break from the normal review, I’d like to talk about what could really be considered the indie games of the internet world, flash games. Created by hobbyist and aspiring game makers alike, it’s always a pleasant surprise when a flash game goes above and beyond your expectations for an internet distraction. Whether it’s a well constructed story or unique puzzler, flash games certainly have the creativity and potential to provide high quality entertainment.
I plan on these “Flash Fridays” to become a regular break from the normal review every now and then so I can review some of my favorite flash games. For the first Flash Friday ever, let me introduce you to a game about flying and smoke messages…
Alight (in dreams) by Twofold Secret
While browsing the “Art Games” section of Newgrounds, an internet hub of flash creativity, I came upon this strangely named title and wanted to try it. I was initially intrigued by the ability to fly and the calming music, but then the story came. Taking me by surprise, Alight (in dreams) related feelings of regret, childhood dreams, and loss that really made me think. A man finds himself dreaming about his past, but he smells smoke and doesn’t know why. As you arrive at each pixelated patch of smoke, a part of his story is told.
As you explore each part of his past, you eventually come to an area with three pedestals with an item perched upon each one. Here you have the choice of which item to pick up. After you select an item, the world changes into a “dark world” where you must retrace your path back to the main location of each memory. In this world, your path is constricted by black borders that you cannot touch or else you must start over again. Crows that were once docile turn into enemies that you must also dodge turning this game into a platforming challenge.
These platforming challenges added an extra dimension to the game, which was perfectly fine, but they also distracted the player when they were difficult. Some stages required high levels of maneuverability and timing which didn’t belong in this game. I like art games for the story, music, graphics, etc. and I don’t want to be slowed down by a platforming mess.
The three different items that you can take with you on each return journey are:
A Candle that renders you immune to crows
A Feather that increases your flight ability
A Clock that challenges you with a timer
The most intricate part of Alight, and its greatest quality, is that the story you are told changes depending on which item you choose. From there, multiple endings are possible, including a secret ending, where your choices affect the mood of the story. I just had to explore all three endings and was not disappointed after each one. The journey between each discovery can be a bit dull, but the flying mechanism helps to alleviate the burden of traveling.
Another great aspect about Alight is the amount of symbolism put into the story. From the items you choose to the places you go, there’s a deeper meaning in all of it. At every ending, every detail contributes to the impact it brings for a bittersweet revelation that you didn’t see coming, but completely understand.
The music appeared to be a hybrid of songs from the Album North by Smiletron (including bits from Fjord, Home, Taiga, etc) and it set the mood phenomenally . I sometimes find myself just letting the music play in the background while relaxing. Seeing as how the sound effects were taken from free sources, I can’t really complain about their quality but they were put to decent use.
Alight (in dreams) tells an excellent story with simple graphics that will certainly make you think about your own life. Only taking about 30 minutes to complete one run, it’s well worth the time to try out.
Play Alight (in dreams): http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/575956
Visit Twofold Secret and their other projects:
A BIRD’S EYE VIEW
Music – 7/10
Visuals – 6.5/10
Flow – 6/10
Story – 8.5/10
Final Score – 7/10