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Game Review

I have a friend who really isn't a fan of video games. In fact, he so dislikes the sometimes dark and complicated storylines, sometimes foul content, and oftentimes bombastic action of videogameland that he'll only venture into very casual titles, like the classic shape-matching puzzler Tetris. And only then to "unwind," he would say.

Casual gamers like my friend can find a number of good puzzlers to fit that bill. The indie-produced, PS4 downloadable Linelight, though, is a great one.

What's My Line?

There are no nasty bits or wince-worthy elements to this game. Nope, just a stretch of line, a light beam and a whole lot of imaginative puzzles. Let me explain.

The goal is a simple one: Guide a dash of light along a line that's laid out in what appears to be—from a bird's-eye view—something like a complicated circuit board configuration.

As you begin, the game feels intuitive and accessible. It slowly teaches you how to manage its ever-expanding set of rules and increasingly difficult obstacles. The simple line you're on branches out into a few paths that further split into multiple lanes and junctions. In one section, you may go through a series of switches that you must hit in the right order to move pieces of a line here or there, ultimately creating a path forward where there was only an open gap before. In another puzzling section, you may encounter other moving colored dashes, "enemies" that will help or trap you depending on the navigating choice you make.

For each new segment of the overall grid you're shown, and with each new key or switching mechanic that's introduced, the puzzles themselves start to guide you step-by-step through what will soon be the next logical-but-perplexing conundrum set in front of you. But for all of its gradually heightening difficulty, Linelight never feels stress-inducing or frustrating.

In fact, it's just the opposite.

A Puzzle for Your Frazzle

A light and soothing musical underscore helps keep the puzzle-filled world almost tranquil. It'll melt away your frazzled day with each play. And that sense of repose helps your brain ease into learning the game's timed segments, complicated controls and other impossible-looking challenges, taking baby steps through each complex brain teaser.

Along the way you'll also find yourself accidentally stumbling past perceived boundaries in the game and coming upon hidden away areas that offer even more complicated and rewarding trials. And when on occasion you make a wrong choice and find yourself zapped by an enemy dash or puzzle trap, you're just one button tap away from reappearing on the line for another try.

Another Linelight plus is the fact that it's a fabulous brain-logic workout for kids and adults alike. There will be seemingly impassible points amid this game's six grids full of increasingly tricky puzzles. But these roadblocks don't require seasoned button-crunching skills as much as the ability to simply think and keep trying—which tend to be strong points for that younger set. They're the kind of challenges parents and kids could easily team up to conquer, and have a lot of fun together along the way.

In fact, the only real drawback to this game is that repeat playthroughs are far less involving than your first exploration. Once you've puzzled out this puzzle's byzantine lines, they're much less challenging the second time through. But when consumed in leisurely, bite-sized chunks, however, Linelight is one of those games that even my video game-scoffing friend would likely find an enjoyable and engaging way to "unwind."

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

E

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

PlayStation 4, PC

Publisher

Brett Taylor Interactive

Released

February 9, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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