Light Apprentice (PC) Review

By Renan Fontes 08.11.2017

Review for Light Apprentice on PC

Is a game automatically good if it has an identity? Is it bad if it doesn't? Like with most things, this is case to case. A strong identity can be the result of a development team realizing exactly what they want to do and theming their project around that; it can also be the result of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Just because the latter is worse doesn't mean it doesn't have an identity of its own; it just happens to be all over the place. Light Apprentice is an RPG, point and click, visual novel interactive comic book that knows exactly what it is. Whether or not that's a good thing, however, is another question.

Light Apprentice is busy. At times it's a turn-based RPG, at other times it's a point and click adventure. Most of the time it's an interactive comic book with choices that slightly alter the story or offer a character a new ability. This business aside, there is a very clear, identifiable structure at play at all times. Amazu Media knows exactly the kind of game they're making.

The story's premise is simple enough; the protagonist Nate has been asleep for hundreds of years, co-lead Tlob wakes him up, Nate thinks little to no time has passed, and he has to adjust to a world where everyone he knows has died all while trying to save the world. Tonally, it's not too dissimilar to the young adult fiction genre. In fact, young adults are probably the best target audience for this story.

Screenshot for Light Apprentice on PC

The writing, while by no means bad, utilizes simple to understand words and dialogue. The themes are just extreme enough to leave an impact, but never so extreme where they become too uncomfortable or morbid to think about. Characters are colourful both literally and literarily with easy to identity personality traits and quirks, and the interactions between the cast are pleasant enough where it's never annoying to read through. In fact, the writing is perhaps the best part of the whole experience. It's easy to get lost in the moment and just wade through the panels. When the gameplay actually does come, it's always disappointing to see the story come to a halt, especially since this first volume of three is in desperate need of more story.

Volume 1, at its core, is the first act of a larger story; it is just a beginning. What that means is that most of the narrative is spent setting up for future events. The main cast is introduced, the world is given context, and characters are given motivations for the arcs they will undergo in time. The problem, right now at least, is that there's no Volume 2 to follow up on where the last chapter of Volume 1 leaves off. The story is stuck in a limbo where arcs are neither concluded nor resolved.

Screenshot for Light Apprentice on PC

This is a problem that extends to the gameplay, as well. On the point and click side, Volume 1 is very much the "early game," which means it can't go too overboard with challenge. There isn't a single puzzle that'll necessitate deeper thinking or stop the party so that a solution can be deduced. Puzzles don't necessarily have to be difficult to be fun, but walking from screen to screen to find an item to move on hardly feels like a good reason to put the story on hold. Of course, the reason these moments are so easy is precisely because this is the beginning of a larger game. It's just one that's on hold before the difficulty can ramp up.

As for the actual combat and RPG elements, they aren't exactly fleshed out enough to make them anyone's reason to purchase Light Apprentice. They're a nice addition in theory and will surely improve in later volumes, but they're handled haphazardly in Volume 1. Battles are tedious despite how much interaction happens each fight. Skills have mini-games to go along with them in order gauge how useful they end up being, and attacking has a small quick time event to go with it. Perhaps because of all this interactivity the battles come off feeling sluggish to a fault.

Screenshot for Light Apprentice on PC

There are good ideas present, granted: Skills require points from a communal skill meter that's increased by hitting enemies and getting hit, there's an option to be a pacifist and outright killing anything, and in-story choices give characters new abilities prompting replay value and experimentation. Like every other aspect of the Volume 1, however, the game doesn't last long enough for all these ideas to reach their full potential.

It is a shame the story cuts off so early, because the presentation is truly incredible. In choosing to stagger the release of volumes, Light Apprentice has only added to its unique identity, but it's added an aspect that is only relevant while the story is incomplete. There is a version of this game where the combat improves, the puzzles get harder, and the story reaches some kind of resolution; it just doesn't exist yet.

Screenshot for Light Apprentice on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

In crafting a very specific identity for itself, Light Apprentice unfortunately fails to fully deliver on many of its main fronts. As an RPG, it offers too little party customization and features some of the most tedious battles in the genre. As a point and click adventure, it never requires more than a basic amount of perception. As a narrative driven title, Volume 1 stops just as soon as the story starts to pick up. There is one key area where Light Apprentice excels, however: the presentation. It reads and feels like a proper comic book. Panels are well drawn and well placed, and the interactivity at play is a great way of creating intimacy with the main cast. The biggest problem here is simply that this is one third of a story - of a game. With more time, it's likely that battles would pick up the pace, puzzles would become more thought provoking, and the story would explore some deeper themes and plots. As is, this is an okay way of killing a few hours, but it might be worth holding off until at least Volume 2 is out to get a fuller experience.

Developer

Amazu Media

Publisher

Amazu Media

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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