We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Ryan Davis for the review copy of Adventure Lamp used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
In recent years the indie game jam has grown in popularity. For those of you not familiar with indie game jams, a person or a team works to make a video game from scratch within a given amount of time. Probably the most popular indie game jam is the Ludum Dare. The Ludum Dare is held three times a year and tasks participants with making a game within two or three days based on a chosen theme for the event. I actually participated in the latest Ludum Dare and it was a lot of fun. I bring this up because Adventure Lamp is a game that was originally developed during a Ludum Dare challenge. To be more specific Ludum Dare 32 whose theme was “An Unconventional Weapon.” It placed seventeenth in the competition out of thousands of submissions. After the competition Ryan Davis decided to continue working on the game and created the final version of Adventure Lamp which I am looking at today.
In Adventure Lamp you play as Simon. After a cave-in Simon is separated from all of his equipment except for his trusty head lamp. Being as crafty as he is, Simon decides that he can use his head lamp to help him escape his predicament. Simon must use his trusty head lamp to defeat dangerous creatures and solve puzzles as he tries to make his way back home safely.
With Adventure Lamp being created based on a quirky theme such as “An Unconventional Weapon” it should not come as a surprise that the resultant game is quirky. What initially intrigued me about the game is its’ charm/cuteness. The game is undeniably charming. From the character designs to the story, the game is cute. That doesn’t mean that the game isn’t for adults since I wouldn’t say it is a children’s game. If you only like gritty video games though, Adventure Lamp is not going to be the game for you.
The game’s basics are that of your typical platformer. You need to jump between platforms avoiding enemies and other hazards. There is also some light puzzle solving as you need to activate switches/buttons in order to create the path to reach the next ladder which takes you to the next level. Adventure Lamp is what I would classify as a micro platformer. What I mean by that is that most of the levels take around 10-30 seconds to complete.
The game’s most unique mechanic comes from the Ludum Dare challenge of an unconventional weapon. Adventure Lamp does a really good job utilizing that theme to create an interesting mechanic. Using your hat as a weapon/tool is not a gimmick. It is a necessary requirement of the game. The only way to defeat enemies is to hit them with your hat and the only way to solve a lot of the puzzles is to utilize your hat to hit buttons/switches. While I wish the hat was a little easier to aim,the mechanic works really well and it is intuitive and fun.
Adding to the charming theme is the game’s artwork and story. The story doesn’t play a big role in the game but it is cute. The artwork is kind of simple but it really works for the game.
Overall I really enjoyed Adventure Lamp. The game is not perfect though as I had three issues with the game.
First I found the game to be quite easy. I would say that around 60-75% of the levels I completed within five or less attempts. With the levels usually only taking 10-30 seconds, I breezed through a lot of the levels. The rest of the levels were moderately difficult. The puzzle elements are not really challenging since the puzzles are quite straightforward. Most of the difficulty comes from not making the jumps or not throwing your hat properly to hit enemies or switches. I only found one level to be pretty difficult and that was because I couldn’t quite get a jump right. I do play quite a few platformers though so that may be part of the reason that I found the game to be pretty easy. While the main game is quite easy, Adventure Lamp does include a new game+ mode which does appear to be more challenging.
The second issue I have with the game is the length. The main game is short because the levels are so short and most are quite easy. I probably finished the entire main game in around 1.5-2 hours. That is not very long for a platformer. There is a catch to this though as the game has a new game+. In the new game+ you seem to play the same levels but you are using a different character that moves differently than the main character. This changes how you have to approach some of the levels and makes the levels harder. Currently I have just started playing the first version of new game+ and I plan on going back to the game to complete the mode in the near future. It appears that there are at least two new game+ modes. If the two new game+ modes take about the same time as the main game I would guess that it would take around six or so hours to beat all of the game’s content.
The final issue I have with Adventure Lamp is that the game had a couple technical issues while I was playing it. The first problem is that the longer I played the game in one sitting, the worse the framerate seemed to get. For the most part the framerate is actually really good. After playing the game for around 20-30 minutes though I started encountering situations where the framerate would jump from around 60 to about 20 for a second or two and then back to 60. This doesn’t ruin the game but it did get annoying after a while since it was noticeable. It did lead to the occasional death when the framerate dropped just as I was doing the most important jump or throw in a particular level. The other technical issue is the game seems to keep running in the background after I quit the game. The only way to get the game to stop running was using the task manager to manually close the program. I am not too worried about these issues since the developer has been working to fix some of these technical issues as the game has had a couple updates since it has launched.
Overall I enjoyed Adventure Lamp quite a bit. It is a charming and fun little platformer. The only issues I had with the game is that I thought it was a little on the easy and short side and there were a couple technical issues that I assume will be fixed soon. If you like platformers you should enjoy Adventure Lamp as long as you aren’t looking for really challenging platformer.