06/06/2022

🔵🟢🔴 In the Dark Game Boy Review | 8/10 "A surprisingly fiendish and simple puzzle title that feels right at home on the Game Boy system" 🔵🟢🔴 @BitmapSoft #IndieGame #Retrogaming

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Developed by Binary Sonata Studio | Published By Bitmap Soft

The minds behind a plethora of new releases on classic systems, Bitmap Soft have games across a multitude of platforms, from Amstrad CPC through to the Mega Drive.

The first handheld release I have covered in quite some time, In the Dark’s simple premise, means that it’s a great ‘dive in ‘n out’ puzzle title for your Game Boy.

Arriving in a glossy cardboard case and complete with a full-colour manual containing some tasty pixel art and a wonderfully dramatic sci-fi backstory for such a simple game, In the Dark’s main gameplay mechanic is turning off all of the lights on a 3x3 grid through the hundred stages that make up the game campaign.

Beginning off very simply with stages that have a ‘par’ set at 1 or 2 moves, you may get cocky as you whip through the first dozen or so, the satisfyingly chiming sound effects that signal a successfully completed stage giving you false confidence. Rest assured, though – you will soon come across patterns that will befuddle you, and perhaps even have you occasionally spamming the buttons as you once again realise that a single light remains after your carefully crafted sequence of moves, foiling your run. 

Each stage has a set number of lights that you need to turn off, you do this by selecting a light, which will cause the surrounding lights (horizontally and vertically) to turn on or off, as I’ve said – it’s a simple premise, but a pretty timeless and engaging one that will appeal to the puzzle purists out there.

Aside from the main 100-stage campaign that has an in-built save function for player continuation, you can also choose random puzzles to play through if you want a quick challenge.

The main game only has occasional musical cues and the bleeps of lights being flicked (which can be toggled in the options) but the main menu theme – by Tronimal - is a corker, in fact, I have it playing in the background on repeat as I type this out.

The whole package feels solid in that not only is the manual full colour, but the cartridge is a tasteful black, in keeping with the title – and you also get a dust cover for the game itself, which is a nice touch. There’s also a custom border should you play this on a Super Game Boy.

There are small bonuses that mostly benefit Game Boy Colour users in that completing a block of ten puzzles unlocks a new background palette and obtaining par on each of these will gain you a further palette variant. There’s also a hinted secret when 100% completion is achieved…

In summary, the presentation of the box and booklet is of high quality – glossy and filled with mood-setting artwork and that wonderfully rich backstory for such a basic – and yet fun – puzzle game.

I do wish that there was an option to keep the music looping as you played, as I do enjoy it - perhaps with unlockable tunes every twenty levels or so to add more variety, because, in games such as this, a little variety goes a long way.

Purchase Link - https://www.bitmapsoft.co.uk/product/in-the-dark/

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