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Burning Brightly- Route Candle Reviewed

Route Candle for the Iphone/iPod Touch. Developer: Peakvox Publisher: Peakvox

I’m definitely a gameplay purist, but
aesthetics and audio are more important than I give them credit for.
I’d confidently argue that it is in no way necessary they be notable.
However, they can not only help to ease the barrier of entry for a game
but they can create an atmosphere of importance and meaning. They can
inspire emotions that are complimentary to the gameplay experience.
Pure gameplay alone can absolutely be art but without intriguing sights
and sounds, the argument of “games as art” would be much more difficult
to present. Route Candle
is a brilliant iPhone/Touch game that could simply get by on its great
puzzle gameplay alone, but the developers have wrapped it in an
atmosphere that makes the game even more of a joy to return to.

If you have never played ChuChu Rocket! then you are doing a disservice to yourself and those around you who could be playing it with you. Route Candle is a bit like ChuChu Rocket! mixed with Pikmin
and Golf. You take the role of a guide for an adorable little flame
person who must navigate mazes, gathering little matchstick people and
lighting candles along the way. If that sounds like a cuteness and
madness smoothie then let me tell you it tastes delicious. It’s only
amplified by really well done crayon-like art with cool flame and heat
effects, cheerful yet dignified piano music, happy Japanese voice
acting (sometimes sounds like Donald Duck!) and more polish than you
might normally expect from an iPhone/Touch game.

The rules are a
bit difficult to describe and even the developers seemed to have
problems doing so. The in-game instructions are a bit vague but serve
the purpose well-enough and you’ll quickly sort out the vital bits.
Further rules and tips can be found on the game’s website.
Basically, you have a set limit of flags you can place in a maze and
you can’t place flags on tiles occupied by something else. Think of
placing flags like taking strokes in golf. (You even have a set par in
each stage.) When you place a flag, the little flame guy will try to
take the shortest route to it. He has trouble turning, however, and
will only do so when he must (hitting walls and dead ends). This means
you must place flags strategically and advantageously as the little
flame won’t always want to take the route you require. The goal in each
stage is to light all candles present with the appropriate number of
matchsticks specified. As the flame walks past matchsticks scattered
throughout each stage, they will follow him. Walking over a candle’s
marker will cause the flame to expend matches to light the candle but
only if he has enough matchsticks following him to do so. There are
also various items, obstacles and traps around each level that will
typically make things more difficult. If the player is able to light
all the candles in a stage without running out of flags, the stage will
be complete. If you’re still confused, visit the site link above and/or
watch this trailer.

Route Candle has 50 stages in all and the replay value is greatly increased by its stages’ excellent design and diversity, as well as it complex scoring system.
There are several factors that can increase one’s score in any given
stage and it’s rarely immediately certain what the highest score one
can achieve is. This means you you’ll be spending a lot of time with
this game. I often found myself repeating stages, going for higher
scores, being surprised by what I could pull off, and having a lot of
fun doing so. While it’s more pricey than the average iPhone/Touch game
at $3.99 USD, I can confidently say it’s worth it!

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

22 comments

  1. I’ll be on the lookout for this one. Sounds really original and fun.

  2. Too many great iphone apps are killing me.

  3. I like the look of it, that’s for sure.

  4. Another great review, T-gear.

  5. Hand-drawn art always catches my eye. If you’ve ever tried recreating it, you’ll know it’s actually pretty hard to make look organic.

  6. Elf Shot the Food

    “lite” version available ?!?!

  7. I could understand the direction, but I do understand it sounds like fun.

  8. What is the possibility of this going on sale soon?

  9. Being a walking flame brings out my inner pyro.

    More games should have this.

  10. Yeah, I need to try this before committing.

  11. Just downloaded along with Radio Flare.

  12. Good review. Keep me posted on the good iphone apps.

  13. TideGear (Adam Milecki)

    I don’t blame you! I wish demo versions were pretty much mandatory, like on XBLA. Sadly, there’s no demo at the moment. Perhaps email the folks at Peakvox?

  14. TideGear (Adam Milecki)

    I’d say it’s fairly likely. A lot of iPhone/Touch games go on sale at some point but it’s often very temporary. I recommend using apps like PandoraBox and AppMiner to keep track of sales and freebies. I’ve saved some money and gotten some cool free games because of PB!

  15. TideGear (Adam Milecki)

    Aye aye! Thanks for the compliments y’all always give me! It keeps my spirits up!

  16. Elf Shot the Food

    I sent them a quick note. Hope I helps.

  17. Your reviews are always great. I always enjoy your (and the others) reviews. Indie games FTW!

  18. Looks cool. Need a new app. Why not this one.

  19. Adam Milecki (TideGear)

    Thanks! Yeah, indie doesn’t automatically mean good, but there are a lot of good ones!

  20. Adam Milecki (TideGear)

    Very true. It’s a concept similar to the “uncanny valley”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley) There’s a fine line and it can either look too sloppy or too clean.

  21. Adam Milecki (TideGear)

    Maybe you should try this?…
    http://tr.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx067_A3xQQ

    …Looks a bit bland, though.

  22. TideGear (Adam Milecki)

    There’s a “lite” (demo) version available now!

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