From its initial reveal trailer, Strayed Lights looked like a familiar mix of indie favourites in an action-adventure setting, but one that left little to go by regarding gameplay. What I ended up playing with during my time with the roughly one-hour demo of Strayed Lights left me feeling optimistic for its release later this year.
At its core, Strayed Lights is a stylized character-action game with a big focus on parrying. In fact, parrying is the name of the game and takes precedence over your standard melee moves and even special attacks. The world of Strayed Lights is one bathed in neon, which, outside of giving the title a striking aesthetic, ties into the combat and parrying system that makes up Strayed Lights’ gameplay loop.
With the ability to shift between a blue and orange hue with a single tap of the left bumper, the player must match the enemy’s colour to parry incoming attacks successfully. Parrying also builds up a meter which acts as the enemy’s life bar, granting the player the option to eliminate their target when full. In a way, the combat in Strayed Lights feels like a mix of Ikaruga and Sekiro, two vastly different games but one that Embers have managed to amalgamate successfully.
“Strayed Lights goes for a heavily stylized look that blends nicely with the atmospheric music and lack of any real dialogue present in the game…”
Unlike the two games mentioned above, Strayed Lights graciously features a more typical difficulty curve that shouldn’t hinder progress for most players while still being challenging enough to make most encounters engaging and fun. Visually, the game goes for a heavily stylized look that blends nicely with the atmospheric music and lack of any real dialogue present in the game (or, at least, the demo), making for a fun and relaxed time while exploring in between the bouts of battle.
Strayed Lights also features a skill tree which grants the player both active and passive abilities, including swappable special moves that can be activated by pressing the Y or top-most face button. Parrying, like always, is still the way to go, but for smaller encounters or tricky situations, the addition of actual attacks and special moves is welcome.
For a studio’s debut title, this game does everything right and is shaping up to be a game worth checking out if you’re a fan of character action games or parrying mechanics in games.
Strayed Lights will launch on PC and all major consoles sometime in late April.