Available on iOS
Have you ever engaged in Feng Shui? Moderately popular during the mid 1990s – when Carol Smillie and her quest to cover the country's walls in stencil patterns was in full flow – it involves moving furniture around in rooms in order to re-orientate the energy flow for the benefit of everyone in it.
We had a go in TrustedReviews towers and our conclusion was that, if we moved all the furniture so that it blocked the doors into the office, then the big bods upstairs wouldn't be able to come down and fire us. It's working well right now, but finding food has been difficult – there's just only so much office carpet you can chew on before it starts to become a little lacking in taste.
Those Feng Shui principles, however, feel like they would have a place in what Breath of Light has to offer. Play here is all about redirecting flows of energy to bring dormant flowers to life, using stones placed around each stage to push said energy in the course you need it to head in. Accompanying said puzzles is a rather haunting soundtrack that, in a nice touch, comes to life when said flowers are captured in the energy flow.
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The principles behind play are simple. Your only way of impacting each stage is to move or twist the stones – sometimes one, sometimes many – around each stage. Different stones have different effects on the flow of energy, some causing it to bend round the surface much like gravity pulling a moon around in orbit, while others bounce the energy off them, redirecting the flow like sunlight off a pane of glass. Getting to grips with just which stones work in which way doesn't take long, and essentially your job becomes one of playing around with all the stones on offer until the energy heads in the right direction, with other level architecture coming into play later on.
Simply re-directing the energy flow to hit each flower for a couple of seconds isn't good enough, however. The stones have to be in the right place in order to keep the flow cascading over each flower continuously and, as with all puzzlers, it isn't always immediately clear just how to solve each stage – which, perhaps, provides the intrigue. It's a level of intrigue, however, that doesn't hold up for all too long.
See also: Best iPad Games 2015
As with many puzzlers on the App Store, developer Many Monkeys has opted for the minimalist approach. This means that, there is no score on offer, no timer, no league table – in short, there's no reason to carry on playing and shooting through each stage other than for your own satisfaction. When rewards are limited to a very slight flourish of the game's soundtrack, it's hard to say just how alluring that will be for the masses. For this particular reviewer, my conclusion has to be: not very.
Breath of Light is especially pedestrian in the way it introduces new elements of play, giving you a good couple of stages to get to grips with their impact. The bi-product of this, however, is that the whole game feels like one long tutorial. It all plays as if it's building up to some kind of crescendo that never actually appears, Breath of Light instead looks to show off every new nuance in play rather than test you with them.
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It results in a game that never gets beyond tepid, constantly hinting at something greater down the line but never actually delivering on that promise. In the packed world of the App Store, serving up something that never hits its stride just won't do. Breath of Light is ultimately a little throw away puzzler in a marketplace packed full of more potent alternatives, with a focus on style leading to a deficit when it comes to substance.
For those looking to fill a few minutes in between meetings or to while away some time while on the bus, Breath of Light is harmless enough, but for a game that's focused on the flow of energy, it's somewhat ironic that play feels entirely devoid of it, lacking in any sense of life and without any real spark to speak of.
Devoid of any real spark and lacking in intensity, Breath of Light's take on redirecting energy flows is entertaining enough in short bursts but never really builds up any sense of momentum, instead serving as a tame puzzler sat in a world of far more entertaining ones.