When I reviewed the original Candleman back in the heady days of early 2017, I gave it a four stars out of five. I had a hugely enjoyable time with this inventive little platformer that follows the story of a little candle and his dreams of being a much brighter light. It took you on a journey through amazing worlds and little adventures, until you faced up against a lighthouse, who turned against you, eventually leaving our candle friend broken and alone. It was a sad story, definitely not a Disney movie ending, and a journey that I thought was finished. But no how wrong was I, because there have now been three more chapters released as DLC. And guess what? They are free.
The first chapter of the new content kicks off at exactly the same point where the base game finished. Our little Candleman is a broken man of a wick, lying in the darkness. But there’s a light coming from afar? Is it a friend? Someone like him, to give his life meaning? So once again he heads off on an adventure into the darkness.
There are three chapters to enjoy in this little mini add-on, with around five levels per chapter. The levels are short, taking you less than ten minutes to complete, so if you’re a super champion at this game, you should have it all done in about an hour or two. The first thing I noticed when I started playing again was how easy it was to get back into the rhythm of this atmospheric platformer. The simplicity of the controls, just allowing you to jump and burn your wick in bursts to be able to see in the dark, are great. But hold the button down too long and it burns all your wax to a stub and you die. Each level gives you ten chances to progress through, with just a couple of checkpoints in place, so it’s not too useful to get yourself killed. Also it’s hard, and this DLC quite rightly puts you in the role of the experienced Candleman player. Darkness, tight jumps, new inventive creatures and puzzles to navigate through – you’ll not want to go in as a freshman.
The actual chapters are very well designed, and there are some nice new touches. There are electrical light bulbs that will burn your wick if you get too close. But, there are also phantom monsters who follow your light, and if you place them in the path of the electrical light bulbs, the phantoms will eat them, making your progression so much easier. In another level you’re left riding a lily petal through a frozen lake, with your little candle melting the ice as you progress. It is almost a vehicular based game at that point, with expert timing is needed to ride the water currents to your next checkpoint. And then in the last chapter we have the introduction of firework barrels. Here you set light to fuses and they will move upwards, or forwards, giving you the option to jump on them and ride them up or across the level. The firework cannons deliver a beautiful payload of destruction to enemies in hard to reach places, and giving you a magical extra jumping platform to propel you to higher heights. In the finale, which is my favourite level, there are magical lanterns that you ride on the wind to hopefully let you escape this dark, dark world.
The ending of the main base game was bleak, but this one is the polar opposite, as if someone said to the developers “come on guys, open the curtains, it’s nice out”. They did open those curtains. The story feels complete, is beautifully written and nearly brought a tear to my eye. In fact, if you haven’t played Candleman yet, you really should play it at Christmas time because it feels so right for this type of game.
In the visual department the game is still very pretty with its cartoon world and beautiful use of colour. When the darkness is removed and the levels are revealed, it’s lovely and the end sections are particularly stunning, whilst the sound score is a wonderful mix of piano and orchestral sounds that really get the heart moving. All the effects are great and the work well within the gameplay. Even the voice over, which I had doubts about in the main game, was hugely enjoyable in this shorter piece of content, as the tone felt just about right.
Overall and The Lost Light is an excellent little bit of DLC. It finishes the game off in a wonderfully poetic way that allows completion and satisfaction, but as much as I would love more content for Candleman, I feel this is now the perfect end. Everything works well as before, yes it can get annoying and there is too much darkness found in the first few levels, but I guess that’s the essence of the game. The biggest plus for this package however is that it’s FREE. YES, FREE. So get out there, play the game and then thank the developers afterwards.