The beauty of many puzzle games is that there are pre-determined steps you must uncover to find the finite solution. Conversely, with a sandbox game you are given a set of tools to use, without any defined solution. LIT: Bend the Light is an unusual amalgamation of the two, presenting you with pre-determined steps but inviting you to experiment and find numerous solutions. It’s time to get LIT AF in here.
LIT: Bend the Light is presented with a bit of a steampunk aesthetic. The wooden levels will contain various shiny surfaces that can reflect light and a variety of glass objects to refract the light. That light will always come from the same mechanism in each level; a sort of paraffin lamp attached to a cog. This cog can be moved up and down on a track, and many of the refractive and reflective surfaces can also be moved into position.
We don’t know why we are doing this; it is never explained to us. But that is irrelevant.
Things start off easily enough as levels will have you bouncing off more reflective surfaces than you will need. It is when these surfaces themselves can be moved that things become a bit more tricky, but also when the game fully opens up.
When it pops up after completing a level with ‘1 of X solutions found’ that you begin to realise LIT: Bend the Light is more than a traditional puzzle game. You have found one solution, that’s great, you can progress to the next one if you like. Or, you can replay the level and experiment with it to find another solution.
A different solution isn’t simply just moving the light source by a few degrees and calling it a new method. It works in the order that you use the tools you are given, or even using fewer than are offered to you.
And don’t think that just because the game states you have found all the solutions, that you actually have. You can keep playing around to find even more, and there is a specific achievement for finding more solutions than the developers accounted for. But more on those later.
Some levels are more interesting to experiment with than others. Earlier levels can be fun because there are fewer variables to manipulate, while later levels can be fiddly because there are too many. One level in particular caused a real headache as you had twelve glass spheres of various sizes that could all be moved. Not only that, but this was also one of the few levels where the light needed to be reflected to two locations. This meant that any tweaking to one glass sphere could knock the entire solution askew.
You do have a few tools at your disposal though. If a level is too tricky then you have three skips to use. There are only thirty-one levels in total so you shouldn’t run out. And if there is anything that only needs moving a minute amount, holding down the X button will allow you to fine tune to your tastes.
LIT: Bend the Light also has a few minor envinronmental puzzles to solve, likely in an accidental way however. The movable objects can get stuck on some of the immovable areas of the level and will require you to figure out how to get around them. These immovable areas work more to block the light, but they can also be frustrating, getting in the way of you finding a solution too.
But it is hard to stay mad for long, because there is a real calmness to LIT: Bend the Light. From the soft glow of the light to the plink of the piano in the background, it is nigh impossible to rage quit.
In fact, if you spend ten minutes listening to the main menu music, you will unlock an achievement. LIT: Bend the Light is full of quirky achievements such as finding the hidden picture of the developers and uncovering more solutions than them. There are even some level specific ones that challenge you to find unusual solutions.
Even after finding the requisite number of solutions for each level, I still feel that I can achieve more and dig deeper in LIT: Bend the Light. It’s testament to the game that LIT: Bend the Light feels less like a puzzler and more like a reflection simulator at times; the lighting feels real and reacts as you would expect. And with the open-ended feel to the levels, it is a game you can play around and experiment with for quite a while.
Master light manipulation in LIT: Bend the Light from the Xbox Store