Hey friends, I’m back with another review! Apologies for my absence, friends. Life has been doing what it does best; life. But we’re not here to talk about that, oh no. We’re here to talk about Projection: First Light. That’s right it’s review time! I am excited, but I have a confession. When I first started this game, I broke it and had to restart. Still not sure how I managed that, but I did. It left me staring at my Switch screen in utter confusion for a few minutes.
So, what is Projection: First Light?
Projection: First Light is a 2D platformer and puzzle game, brought to us by Shadowplay Studios and published by Blowfish. You play as Greta, a little girl living in a mythological shadow puppet world. Greta embarks on a journey of self-enlightenment, gaining assistance from legendary heroes in each culture she explores. Take control of a source of light, and use shadows to manipulate your surroundings, creating bridges, paths and platforms. The voyage evolves through Indonesia, China, Turkey, Greece and 19th century England.
So, here’s the thing. This is the third game published by Blowfish that I’ve played for review. The first was horror game Infliction: Extended Cut (which I’ve had the joy of playing twice). The second was Element Space. From this alone, you can tell I’ve had a very mixed bag with this publisher, but as the developers are all different, I’m always happy to try again. Infliction ended up being one of my favourite indie horrors out there (no dethroning Those Who Remain though). Element Space? Well, let’s just not talk about that one.
Let’s get Projection-y
I really need to take a minute to talk about the shadow manipulation. It is really very tricky to get the hang of, and that’s how I broke the game at first. I moved a shadow in the wrong way, and fell through the world.
Mind you, this isn’t the first time I’ve had this little accident with a game, but that really doesn’t make it any less confusing. Another thing I noticed with the shadows is getting stuck. Now, I do not know if it was just a little glitch, my own silliness, or an intentional feature. Maybe a combination? I’m honestly not sure. Either way, if Greta was in a shadow, she could not move. Manipulating the shadows is very… delicate. That’s what made it so tricky. Greta could not be caught in a shadow, or she wouldn’t be able to move at all.
There were easy ways to fix this, like adjusting the shadow itself, but it did get quite infuriating at times.
One of the most interesting aspects of Projection: First Light, however, is the lack of dialogue. Or rather, dialogue in the traditional sense. The characters interact and make gestures to each other, even point in different directions. So there is a form of communication there, just without words. Admittedly, I’m very on the fence about this. I like a very clear story, I like to fully understand what’s going on around me. With Projection, although the story was still being told, the lack of convention left me more so just playing as opposed to being enveloped like I usually am in a game, good or bad.
On the other hand, the visuals are beyond intriguing. There’s been a lot of 2D games with the sepia/black & white aesthetic, but this is the first time I’ve seen it used for shadow puppets. It’s definitely on the more unique side, and adds to the atmosphere, as does the music.
But, how do we feel about Projection?
I am definitely in a weird place with this game. It’s not a bad game by any means. The visuals are really nice, and being 2D it’s very easy on the eyes. Even while manipulating shadows, the light isn’t too bright- which makes for chill nights gaming. What really throws me out of the loop is the lack of actual dialogue. I found it really difficult to fully understand what was actually happening. Maybe that’s just me. Someone else could play this and think that it’s the simplest thing to understand. I found myself just exploring and more so stumbling into where I was meant to be. Something just did not click in my head, although I enjoyed being able to relax.
Anyone who has played Projection: First Light, how did you find it? Were you as confused as me or were you happy out with the story? Let me know!
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