>>Community Game Brief
You can’t just toss around words like “experimental” and “subtle” and not follow through. Especially in indie games, where a mini-renaissance of truly experimental, subtle, and artistic games is currently taking place. The Passage comes to mind, a game where you walk right for five minutes – it doesn’t get much more subtle than that, yet the events that take place over those five minutes are poignant and powerful. Patterns of Light preys on the indie gamer looking for the next Passage, with a sales pitch that’s no less than a flat-out lie.
The developer, Charles Berube, calls Patterns of Light a “rather experimental game” with an “abstract retelling of a vaguely familiar story”. The goal of the game is to hit buttons as they appear on the screen, completing a set of them within the time limit. It can only be assumed that a “vaguely familiar” story would take shape over the game’s 100 levels, making the painfully repetitive gameplay engaging. But 40 levels in, there’d been nothing but an odd Fischer Price-looking character on screen, fading into the distance. If his goal was to evoke fading memories of childhood, then perhaps he succeeded. More likely though, he’s simply using some freely-available art assets and tossing some random nonsense on the screen so he can tell you that there’s a “subtle plot”.
It’s almost like some kind of sick joke. While playing Patterns of Light, level after level, searching for some meaning, you’re subjecting yourself to an endless quick-time event – a tired mechanic reserved for overwrought cinematics in big-budget blockbusters like God of War and Resident Evil. Charles Berube has made you his bitch, following his on-screen commands like a mindless zombie while he laughs all the way to the bank.