Game Review: Find a ray of hope in GLEAM: Last Light
Post-apocalyptic stories are no doubt one of the most interesting and well-received trends not only in movies and books but in games as well. There is something dark in them and an inexplicable fear and curiosity regarding the many not so optimistic possible future outcomes that make most of us attracted to them. Today’s review is about the puzzle game "Gleam" developed by Hiker Games, that embraces a negative future but with a small glimpse of hope that the player must do everything to preserve. It is a difficult yet beautiful in its sadness game.
Gleam is set in a barren post-apocalyptic world and tells the story of the last living organism on the planet, which is a nondescript plant that is struggling to survive in the hostile environment that is now Earth. If it doesn’t get direct sunlight soon, it will perish along with the rest of planet. The player takes on the role of a specialized drone tasked with searching for (and preserving) life on Earth by providing the necessary sunlight to the fragile organism. Can you take on this difficult but important task?
Through controlling the drone, the player must provide sunlight to the small plant by slashing gems to drive sunlight to the plant using as few moves as possible. The light rays reflect on each gem and by slicing the correct pieces you can direct the light ray right on the plant. It takes 4 seconds for the plant to photosynthesize so try to keep the light steady for at least this long when it is unstable.
Gleam is full of challenging puzzles regarding gravity and physics. There are over 40 levels and 5 different environments for you to explore and engulf yourself into. There is a life bar at the top left of your screen which decreases steadily the more slashes you make. When the life bar is emptied it is game over. The trick is to make as few slashes as possible which will also reward you with a perfect score (3 stars).
You slice through the gems by sliding your finger on the exact part you want to slice but try to foresee the outcome before attempting anything. Even if you are unsuccessful though, your attempt works as a lesson for the next try because the levels remain the same so you can memorize and learn until you finally succeed. I won’t lie, Gleam is a difficult game and you might want to give up at many points, but trust me it is worth trying and eventually you will find the right solution. It is the kind of game that forces you to reach and overpass your limits and without realizing you’ll get better and better. Of course it will require lots of focus and time investment to reach that point.Keep in mind that your only enemy is not just the energy bar but also the gem debris. By that I mean that sometimes the sliced pieces can fall on the plant and destroy it and this is a very unwelcome outcome.
What I also want to mention regarding Gleam is that it is a freemium that comes with no ads or in-app purchases. It is completely free and the player is given the option to contribute by donating to the developers if they wish to.
Graphics & Sounds
Gleam looks absolutely stunning despite its moody atmosphere and dark environments. The gems are stunning and the light ray is designed in such a way that it makes hard to take your eyes from it. Everything looks amazingly smooth with crystal-clear graphics and the feeling of abandonment creates a sadness that gives the ray’s and plant’s appearance an even more distinct beauty. The music is also very atmospheric and fitting.
A beautifully constructed game, a unique idea, and a challenging gameplay, are the characteristics of Gleam. It is by no means a game for everyone as it requires a lot of dedication but it is perfect for those who like to be challenged and intrigued by a game. My suggestion is to give it a try and find out if it is your cup of tea. Let us know your thoughts and impressions in the comments below.
Gleam screenshots (above) and trailer (below)