These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.
Lost Light is Disney Interactive's latest twist on the casual puzzler: A math-based arithmetic adventure set in an enchanted forest that takes the "match-three" genre to an entirely new level. Instead of just matching three tiles, you match tiles based on their numbers--"2" tiles need two to match, "3" tiles need three to match, "4" tiles need four to match, and so forth.
Let me explain. Lost Light's game board consists of numbered tiles. You can add tiles by dragging your fingers across them to combine them--typical arithmetic: two plus two equals four, etc. But here's the twist: To clear numbers from the board, you must have at least that many tiles (or connected tiles). So if you make a huge conglomeration of tiles adding up to 23...you'll need at least 22 more conglomerations to clear that 23. If that sounds a little tricky, it's because it is.
Plus, once you've got the hang of adding up tiles and watching them whisk off the board, you'll need to contend with time limits and other goals to work your way through the game's 100-plus levels. Besides the varied gameplay on an old standby, Lost Light is one for the books for a few reasons:
A solid intro: Like most things Disney, Lost Light is "designed for all ages," and it shows. The game starts out with a whopping 26 tutorial stages that take you through all the ins and outs of combining numbers and beating the clock. Although the tutorial level set is easy--perhaps maddeningly so, if you're a quick learner--it's a solid introduction that will leave you feeling well prepared for the rest of the game.
And trust me: You need to be prepared, because the game quickly becomes a challenging puzzler. I went from breezing through tutorial levels to failing the first level out of the gate, perhaps due to my overconfidence in my tutorial-level-skills. Lost Light's intro, though overly simple, means the game will appeal to, and be understood by, players of all ages and levels.
Mix it up: Different puzzle games appeal to different people. (Personally, I prefer games predicated on speed, and speed alone.) But some people enjoy a little challenge with their time limits, while others are looking for brainteasers in low-pressure (read: not timed) situations.
Lost Light's 100-plus levels feature a variety of different goals, so there's almost certainly something for everyone. Some levels require you to beat the clock--clear 5,000 points in under 60 seconds, for example--while others require you to clear numbered tiles in a certain order. More advanced levels ask you to hit a "bulls-eye" target number by collecting only tiles that will add up to that number, while others ask that you go "find the number" by strategically clearing numbers to hit the correct one. There's even a casual level pack, in which the numbered tiles don't move (unless you force them to with the tap of a button), so you don't have to worry about tiles hitting the top wall.
Designed by Disney: Although there's a certain appeal to the quirkiness of indie-developed puzzlers, there's no denying that big studios go all out, even for the most casual of casual mobile games.
Lost Light is pure Disney, from the whimsical forest (complete with friendly talking-squirrel host) to the pretty, enchanting backgrounds. The game is gorgeous and smooth, and has the polish you can only get from a big studio--especially if that studio is Disney. It does an excellent job of drawing you into the tangentially related storyline (something about fireflies trapped in rocks, which you crack as you progress through the levels) and keeping you focused on the task at hand. Lost Light's uniquely addictive gameplay isn't the only thing that will ensnare you--its beautiful design will get you as well.