The Light Apprentice is a turn-based action and adventure game / digital comic book that allows the player to manipulate what happens next. Much like Undertale, you can choose to fight or spare your enemies which ultimately affect the game’s main storyline.
Story + Gameplay
The plot takes on an “Avatar: The Last Airbender”-esque story, where Nate, the Light apprentice, wakes up after being crystallized for 300 years. Like Nate, there are other apprentices of different elements but still in slumber. Each of them hold a great power and together they are meant to save the entire planet.
Light Apprentice has a choice system which allows the player to shape the characters’ beliefs (pacifist vs. warrior) and whether the apprentices can protect the world. The RPG Undertale makes use of the same concept where you are put into an action game that doesn’t require you to fight, but in Light Apprentice, you are more strongly influenced by your companions saying “The poor fellow!”, or “Show them love… or mercy!” before and/or after battles.
I felt more disappointed that rather than choosing which path you would take, the other characters seem to make you feel bad instead, so you are sort of guilt-tripped into “forgiving” your opponents. It makes me wonder if the developers will decide to create a betrayal plot twist in their later volumes.
The way some problems are resolved are also kind of like a fairy tale, not very realistic — that or some of the plot twists used are kind of obvious (or at least for me, if you’ve watched enough anime). Note that the game is rated for people 11 years old and up.
Executing/defending attacks and using skills require the player’s help for an enhanced result. These are called “challenge mini-games”. They seem more suited to phones/tablets, but it doesn’t really pose much of a problem or hassle if you’re playing on a PC, unless you’re using a controller. Some are time sensitive.
Admittedly, the first chapter of Volume I was very slow — fighting enemies really felt like a chore and you kind of wonder what you’re doing and question how the story’s going. The organization and what happens after each choice is a little messy (even during adventure mode); but overall, it almost has the same feel as the Fantasy JRPGs released for the PlayStation 2. As it is being told in a comic book style, the text matters just as much as the visuals. Sometimes the tone is a little off which kind of cracks the solemn vibe, but as soon as Chapter 2 starts, things pick up.
I already can’t wait for the next volumes to come out.
Games that use panels for storytelling like they do in comic books has been done before, like the storytelling in Valiant Hearts — it always ends up returning to a full screen to signal that the game can be played. It’s the first time I’ve seen an entire game told in just comic panels, sometimes mixed with two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphics.
The visuals really are best suited to smartphones or tablets/iPads; they look much sleeker than when you play it on a desktop. It gives you more of a comic feel.
My only minor complaint is that some art is reused when in adventure mode. An example from the game is when you find secret passage way, and it shows the characters crawling to the left. If you choose to go back from where you came, the same art is used (going to the left instead of going to the right) making it a little disorienting.
The soundtrack for the game is quite pretty, though it gives me more of a medieval setting vibe. It technically isn’t medieval, because there are tear gas guns used as well as some interesting tanks. The music makes me think of Runescape and a couple of other fantasy massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). It’s accompanied with some sound effects for both the story mode and adventure mode, though not all the “sounds” from the story mode have actual sounds, as they are worded out like a real comic book. Sometimes there are screen shakes to enhance the experience, but the sound effects there are a bit inconsistent; sometimes there is, and sometimes there isn’t.
There are no voices in the game however like reading a real comic, it’s like your brain automatically adds voices for the characters based on how they were designed. Sometimes the music switches a little late, so the transitioning is a little off for mood settings — once, the music played actually made me laugh instead of feeling sad, but overall is a-okay.
The gameplay has a lot of points to improve on, though I found myself wanting to continue the story. It’s a nice casual game to play in your down time as well, and fitting for its main console.
It’s a pretty vast world within the Light Apprentice and really surprises me how much they add in the later chapters. The more characters come the more I look forward to progressing, too. As it is choice based, replaying the game and changing your initial course of action gives you a different result. My favorite past time, aka hoarding Steam achievements (which I’m not very good at btw), also propels me to explore the game branches.
The format and genre may not be everyone’s favorite, but it’s definitely something I’d encourage people to try.
Rating: 7 / 10
I would like to thank Chris Hayes from the Indie Bros. for sending me the game on behalf of Amazu Media!