Although In Rays of the Light is a remake of a 2012 game, I am treating it as a new game since I never played the original. It is a short walking Sim with an interesting philosophical story to tell. It only took me about 90 minutes for my first playthrough, but that does not mean it isn’t worth your time nonetheless.
The game play is expected of a walking Sim. You explore an abandoned school in Russia, using just a few items, like a flashlight, lighter, map, and crowbar. There are a few other temporary items that are stry related, so I won’t spoil them. As is customary with the genre, there are also a few puzzles to solve during your exploration. Though I didn’t find them frustrating, they are on the more logical side, which makes them more difficult than other similar games.
The story is told very passively at first, through environmental storytelling and notes to read. Abut halfway through, once you have a pretty good idea of what is happening, it gets way more aggressive in how it presents the story. Though I wouldn’t call it a horror game, some of these late game story beats are somewhat frightening. In the end, yu get one of two endings based on how you played. This gives you incentive to play through at least twice to experience both endings.
The controls are simple, as expected for a walking Sim. You have movement and look as well as just a few buttons. The use button is most frequently used, then you also have jump, run, inventory, and flashlight buttons. At first I was upset at the choice for the jump button, which doesn’t match typical control schemes, but I found that I rarely needed to jump anyway. Otherwise, stairs were difficult to climb before realizing that you needed to jump or run up them.
The graphics are fine for the game. They aren’t the best, but it doesn’t need to be. The most interesting aspect was that you could activate filters to change how the game looked. Other than default, one was the original game’s color scheme while another made everything feel like an old film. My biggest issue was the text on the notes were too small for me to comfortably read. If they weren’t so important to the story, I wouldn’t mind so much.
Overall I really enjoyed experiencing the story presented by In rays of the Light during the couple hours I played. My biggest complaint was that there is no voice over, so you must read a lot of small text to know what you need to do and to fully experience the story. I would recommend it to fans of the Walking Sim genre or those that would like a good philosophical story.
The publisher provided me with an Xbox copy of the game with the expectation for some amount of coverage. I am mostly blind and things I have trouble with may not affect your experience with the game. In Rays of the Light is available now on several platforms.