Candle: The Power of the Flame (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Shane Jury 29.09.2018

Review for Candle: The Power of the Flame on Nintendo Switch

Like many an indie title, Candle: The Power of the Flame began life as a publicly funded Kickstarter project. Conceptualised by Spanish developer Teku Studios, Candle entered the funding phase in mid 2013 and met its goal not long after. Originally slated for both Wii U and PC upon certain Stretch Goals, the game encountered development issues - mostly due to limited creator funds and manpower - and would see release only on PC three years later. Due to the status of the Wii U market around that time, the decision was made to bring Candle to the more popular consoles, with a Switch version being added later in development. Dropping simultaneously on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch earlier this year, does this matchstick burn intensely or flicker out far too soon?

Envisioned as a mix of the classic adventure and platformer genres, the primary appeal of Candle: The Power of the Flame lies in two key aspects, the visual medium and the narrative. The former presents players with a beautiful watercolour-inspired 2D world, soothing and ambient music, imaginative character and enemy design, and distinctive animation. The latter tells the tale of Teku, a bipedal creature that, on behalf of his tribe, sets out to rescue the village Shaman from the clutches of the Wakcha clan. Doing so requires running and jumping through the many environments in his way, solving puzzles to clear obstacles, and avoiding certain death from hostile creatures and traps. The spoken word is limited to the narrator, with Teku and friendly NPCs making use of animated speech bubble pictures that give the game a lot of light-hearted personality by doing so.

A key element of any adventure game is how players can interact with the given world, and on this front Candle both succeeds and falters. The game provides an easy to understand tutorial section at the beginning of the story, easing players into the simple controls and structure of the story, and the first few puzzles are fairly simple. The titular Candle is the game's strongest puzzle solving aspect, and the one that will govern the most time protecting and transporting from place to place to be used in a multitude of ways.

Screenshot for Candle: The Power of the Flame on Nintendo Switch

In later areas, however, the awkward structure of the game and its puzzle setup begin to show, as many times there will be an important item or interactive element that will need back-tracking to for later, and there are far too many instant deaths from unpredictable consequences. To the game's credit, restarting upon death is almost instant, and will always resume near the fatal scene, but this can still be frustrating with multiple occasions. Clearing a bewildering trial, however, is, as many games in the genre do so well, both rewarding and relieving.

Although Candle: The Power of the Flame was originally slated to be on Wii U, when looking at the game in Portable Mode on Switch, it is difficult to see how it would have worked well on the Off-TV function of Nintendo's previous console. The stunning visual style translates very well to the Switch's own screen, but the rest of the game's presentation does not adapt well at all. Interactive parts of the environments can be difficult to discern from the rest, and text in general is far too small. Quality of Life measures, like text size options and a zoom function, would have made Portable Mode a far more optional way to play Candle, alas TV mode wins out. Upon adapting to the structure of the game world, players will find a fairly lengthy tale spun with Candle, backed by wonderful art and expressive characters, marred only by host hardware decisions and questionable puzzle structures.

Screenshot for Candle: The Power of the Flame on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The beauty of the world depicted within Candle: The Power of the Flame is immediately apparent, as it comes alive through striking design, superb musical direction, and memorable characters. Numerous design issues soon become apparent, yet regardless of this, dedicated fans of the adventure genre would be wise to give this one a look, albeit a cursory one as it requires patience and persistence.

Developer

Teku

Publisher

Merge Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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