A fantastic puzzler set in a beautiful and mysterious world… coming now to consoles!
XBox One, Switch
Developer: Two Mammoths
Publisher: Two Mammoths
PC Release: 8 Sep, 2017
Console Release: 24 April, 2020
Archaica: The Path of the Light is a puzzle game using the simple and already seen mechanics of light beams and mirrors for its puzzles, here implemented in a simple and yet incredibly effective way. You are the Light Bearer and are required to walk the Path of Light to save the world from an impending disaster. This will make you travel through five themed areas, like ancient desert ruins or the crystal mines. Will you be able to walk the Path?
Simple and Yet Powerful
There are no new ground-breaking mechanics in Archaica: the light beam puzzles have already been used in many different puzzle games and this one does nothing to really change them. Instead, an incredibly simple and clean implementation was chosen, with the game adding new puzzle pieces every few levels. Thus, you’ll start with simple mirrors and will get to beam focusing devices, beam splitters and different beam colours after some time. These new pieces are integrated seamlessly into the levels: you start the next one and just find a new device and usually understand how it works just by looking at it. It’s all incredibly intuitive and there’s very little need of written instructions.
Apart from the puzzle, each level has a built-in hidden object minigame where you have to find 3 crystals and (usually) 3 cryptoglyphs: these are scattered around and hidden behind the various angles and walls of the levels and, while the latters are used to describe the lore of the game, the crystals have an active function, taking the form of hints.
To Hint or Not to Hint
Archaica presents an interesting hint system that, instead of the classic “click a button to have part of the solution”, has some interactivity in it. Let’s start by saying that, while not too difficult at first, levels constantly increase in difficulty without strange spikes or drops and, after a while, hints can be handy in order to not remain stuck in the same level for hours. Besides the necessary collection of the crystals in order to power the “hint machine”, hints have the interesting feature of just revealing a portion of the board: you can choose where to use one and it will reveal if you should place an object in a 3×3 square.
Note that activating a hint doesn’t mean that you have part of the puzzle right away: the hint only contains the position of an object out of the several you have on the board, without even counting the direction it should face! Thus, once the difficulty builds up, levels can require some reasoning even when three or more positions are discovered.
A Graphical Bliss
There’s very little to say in this regard: Archaica isn’t only an incredibly beautiful title through all five of its areas, but it’s also clean and simple. The cartoon-ish textures and the use of lights tend to create relaxing environments that are not only very pleasing to the eye, but also retain a mysteriousness that is typical of ancient mystical ruins.
Archaica is one of those games that doesn’t have a single, incredibly interesting, aspect which makes you recommend the game. Here, you have to look at the whole picture and you’ll see not only a very solid puzzle game with incredible environments, but also a relaxing experience that still manages to squeeze your brain with a high, but customizable, difficulty level.