She and the Light Bearer – Review
In She and the Light Bearer, it’s up to one little firefly to reawaken Mother. Did the game light up our hearts, or did it fizzle out? Here’s what we think.
How adorable can one game be? Every element of She and the Light Bearer feels like it has been tuned just so, from its huggable protagonist to its lush forest world. Like some folk art heirloom passed down through the generations, it feels made by hand and crafted with love.
She and the Light Bearer is presented as a story told by a village elder to a group of children, and like all good folk tales, it has a thing or two to teach you. The game follows the adventure of Firefly as they journey through a dense forest and attempt to reawaken ‘Mother’, the one who created the world.
Right off the bat, the garment-wrapped Firefly proves themself to be endlessly charming. Their personality carries the perfect balance between zest and skepticism. They are driven towards their task, but are often irked by the bothersome obstacles they must overcome. They experience emotions ranging from excitement to sorrow to fear to frustration. Not only is Firefly relatable as a protagonist, but they draw you in, make you their friend, and share their adventure with you.
The writing of She and the Light Bearer is worth special accolades for its childlike, folksy quality. Every character in the game is a joy to meet, such as the playful and cheeky Orchid, the stern and militaristic Mushroom, even the vain and self-centred General Potato. Detail and wit mark the game’s dialogue, while grounded poetic flourishes introduce new areas.
Detail is a good point to focus on when appreciating She and the Light Bearer. Firefly exudes a comforting glow around their surroundings, while carefully-animated objects sway and bounce with a pleasant softness. Leaves rustle, branches crack, and an acoustic folk soundtrack soothes the soul. Just like a real forest, it’s never too much, but it’s also never static.
The game is a little front-loaded as far as puzzles and interactions go. Most of the proper puzzling and shuffling happens early on, while the second half of the story is mostly linear. Expect simple point-and-click item association stuff, assisted by blinking markers for interactive objects.
I’ll take it—after all, this is a game for relaxation, not for taxing your brain.
I also appreciated that the puzzles each serve a purpose narratively, rather than being there just to pad out the game length or add interactivity for its own sake. There’s valuable lessons to be learned—lessons that transcend age and background.
I really wish She and the Light Bearer was a longer game, just so that I could spend more time with Firefly and the rest of the gang. At roughly three hours, it’s just long enough for a pleasant afternoon. Developer Mojiken Studio has crafted a game that punches above its weight, and envelopes you in a comforting forest cover.
Balancing a tone between whimsical and meaningful, She and the Light Bearer is an affable and wholesome adventure that’s perfect for family storytime.
Developer: Mojiken Studio
Country of Origin: Indonesia
Publisher: Toge Productions
Release Date: 17 January 2019
Platforms: PC, and Mac
This review of She and the Light Bearer is based on a copy provided by the publisher.
For more information on She and the Light Bearer, check out our previous coverage of the game here.