Lightopus, a difficult-to-pigeonhole offering developed by AppxPlore and published by Bulkypix, is now available from the app store. Featuring great neon visuals, fluid controls, a soothing soundtrack, and enjoyable gameplay, Lightopus is a high-quality game whose only fault is failing to convey its purpose clearly.
- Terrific neon visuals and smooth, fluid animations
- Simple tap/drag controls show great responsiveness
- Ethereal and atmospheric audio enhances the game’s atmosphere
- Collectible stars and special items to aid in survival
- GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements
- Ultimate goal and effective use of special items get lost along the way
- Finger tends to get in the way
Lightopus resembles an octopus, though with significantly fewer limbs. In fact, it appears to only have 2 arms, neither of which is good for much other than dragging behind as it wends its way through its environment. There are a number of yellow shells in your vicinity, and contacting them will cause them to burst and release tiny creatures called Bulbies. Like krill to a whale, the Bulbies form schools and follow Lightopus around, actively defending the strange creature by attacking any enemies that attempt to harm it. Additionally, they cause Lightopus to swim faster, which comes in handy since Lightopus must breach a speed threshold to penetrate the perimeter and move on to the next location. Each location contains 3 stars for you to collect, as well as a number of special items to assist you in your quest to survive. Stars will boost your level score by a certain percentage once you leave, while special items can temporarily shield Lightopus, restore health, drive enemies away, freeze enemies, etc. The ultimate goal is to collect enough colored stars to reach the monster’s hive and destroy the monster eggs. The experience is fairly laid back and casual, though engaging enough to keep our interest.
Graphically, the bright neon visuals and dark backgrounds create an appealing look. The Lightopus movements are smooth and fluid, almost eel-like. A dial at the screen top indicates current/remaining health, as well as current speed and speed needed to move on. Tiny arrows direct you toward the stars, which is a major help. The soundtrack is very chill, using ethereal and atmospheric music to enhance the calm, dreamy movements of the main character. The Lightopus follows your finger, giving you the option to tap where you want him to go or drag your finger on-screen to direct its movements. Exiting a level requires a simple swipe through the perimeter. There is an optional joypad, but we found it inferior to the default controls, even though our finger tends to get in the way.
Replay value is based mainly on the desire to earn higher point totals. The overall goal gets a bit lost in the shuffle, as does the purpose of the special items. The gameplay is fun, but it can get repetitive after a while. Your progression does not get saved, resulting in starting over from the very first location once the Lightopus dies, which can be frustrating. GameCenter integration offers global leaderboards and achievements. A universal app for $2.99, Lightopus is a solid, 4-Dimple option.