WiiWare survival horror, eh? Stranded in a school (sounds scary already) with all the lights off, Jake’s dropped into the Lit world with no backstory or tutorial. Luckily, it’s easy to pick up. There are 30 rooms to work through, all cloaked in perpetual darkness – darkness you have to avoid as if it were a booger someone had wiped under your school desk. Step into the shadows and ghostly apparitions will drag you to your doom.
The only way to safely pass through rooms is to use your slingshot (equipped with limited pellets) to smash the windows, letting in beams of natural light that act as corridors to guide you to each exit. Artificial light from TV screens and lamps also helps and intriguing boss fights appear every five rooms or so. All the ingredients for Ring-style fun then, eh?
They should be, but Lit doesn’t feel like a survival horror at all. The only reason it’s being pitched as such is because of its gloomy nature and the fact some of the ghosts have stitches on their faces – the clearest indication of evil that there is, obviously.
You control Jake with the Nunchuk and aim your weapons with the remote, but there’s plenty of scope for accidental deaths. For example, you’re next to a light switch, plotting your next move, ready to fire your slingshot. You press A and Jake, due to the proximity of the switch, will turn the light off and plunge himself into darkness. You have to be super-precise, which is hard when you’re rushing a level because you’ve done it 20 times already and keep dying through no fault of your own. Problems such as these guarantee you’ll repeat levels frequently, but not through choice.
As a puzzler, though, Lit’s actually quite clever. Tasks gradually become more brain-busting. For instance, in one level your only ammo is explosive cherry bombs and you have to shatter a window, yet next to that window is a fragile lamp that you need to light to progress. What do you do?
Solving some of the tougher puzzles gives you a real sense of accomplishment, which is the hook Lit needs to hold you until the end. There are lots of smart ideas here and if they were polished up and put in anything other than a ‘survival horror’, they’d surely get the recognition they deserve.
Mar 18, 2009