Review: Flowing Lights (Nintendo Switch)

Flowing Lights is an arcade puzzle shooter that will keep you busy for a few hours. Each level is lengthy, so it’ll be easy to lose track of time and get sucked into this game – literally.

Speaking of getting sucked in, I think the physics was my favorite part of Flowing Lights. You play as a little spaceship that gets stranded on another planet due to the gravitational pull and has to defeat alien creatures to get through. There are holes in the ground that gravity will pull you down if you get too close.

Luckily, there are no consequences for dying in Flowing Lights. Each level has many checkpoints; if you lose all your health or somehow fall off the level, you’ll just begin at that spot again. While it was nice to have unlimited chances, this also made the game feel repetitive. It got to the point where if I couldn’t figure out the best possible way to defeat the enemy, I could purposely die. After so many deaths, the game will give you a boost where the enemies’ bullets won’t hurt you, and you can, more or less, charge right through.

Flowing Lights

Let me explain; these alien enemies spit bullets at you. Some are in a pattern, and some aren’t. Some are a continuous flow, while others spit bullets sporadically. This is where the puzzle aspect of the gameplay comes in. You need to get past these aliens, defeating them while avoiding their bullets. You have a certain amount of health, but the bullets cause you to bounce back so much that once I got hit by one bullet, I’d get knocked into another, then another, and lose all my health in one go. Honestly, I didn’t have much health to begin with, so I just resigned to my fate after one hit.

What can you do as the little spaceship? Well, you can move around, give yourself a speed boost to go over steep hills, use rapid-fire bullets, or charge a big bullet to aim and shoot like a slingshot. Other than that, it’s mostly you and your puzzle-solving skills. The rapid-fire bullets didn’t have much range, so I had to use the slingshot most of the time. If the enemy were on a hill, I’d be stuck for a bit while I tried hard to aim and eventually not miss my target.

The levels aren’t timed, though, which is nice. You can sit back and take your time while figuring out the next portion of the level. However, they are pretty long and, while the game auto-saves, I never wanted to stop in the middle of a level.

Flowing Lights

Even though the game plays nicely, the music was catchy, and the graphics were pretty, I got bored quite quickly. Each level was repetitive. In fact, I didn’t start to really get into the game until level three. Then, around level five or so, I got bored. Each puzzle is the same where you need to figure out where to aim your bullets to make it through, rinse and repeat. The backgrounds were all the same, with differently placed hills to make the puzzle easier or harder than the last.

Overall, I did enjoy my time with Flowing Lights. I think it’s cool how the developers combined puzzles and arcade shooters into one, but I felt as though there could have been a bit more meat on its bones. Plus, there’s little replay value. While there’s a leaderboard, that’s not enough for me to go back and play the game again.

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