|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: WayForward Technologies||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: WayForward Technologies||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 9, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
One tremendously nagging issue with Lit, however, is its boss battles. They're challenging and interesting, but only partially satisfying upon completion. It's never clear what's expected of you (except during the game's final boss), and each boss encounter leads to a long series of repeats, as you slowly work your way toward the solution.
It's usually a good feeling once you've run through all the paces and finally see the boss fall to their demise, but it can be a painful process all the same. You never get that good feeling of when everything just clicks. It's more a matter of trying different things until something finally works, then stringing those things together (after endless tries) to complete the encounter. The final boss, however, simply rages on, and the controls for using cherry bombs become a serious frustration. Without giving away too much, let's just say that terms such as "obtuse" and "asinine" come immediately to mind. Considering the nature of the classroom levels, the bosses will likely make little sense and prove to be a sore spot for folks who've come for the puzzles.
As was the case with Zack & Wiki - ultimately, Lit's finer qualities outweigh its frustrations. It's all about trial, error, and tons of repetition, but there's still a lot of fun and satisfaction packed into the experience. The levels, surprisingly, lend themselves to repeat playthroughs, as the diversity and complexity is such that you'll quickly forget just what was required to get through a given classroom. It's also quite satisfying to string all the many elements together and simply run through a room, even if you already know exactly how it's done. Additionally, there are various unlockables and extras that promise to extend the life of the game.
On the production front, Lit looks like an early PS2 game, and considering the amount of memory it will take up on your system, as well as the gameplay and price, it's a fine presentation that gets the job done. You only see the characters up close on rare occasions, but the models look good and exhibit a decent level of detail for a WiiWare title. The entire school is dark, and the elements within each room mostly serve as obstacles for you to navigate, offering little in the way of visual panache.
There were occasional bouts of slowdown, and Jake's animation is a bit jerky and unnatural - the latter causing the controls to feel somewhat unwieldy at times. The lighting is, of course, used to good effect, but the whole game has a sort of cartoon skin over it. There are no real fear elements, and though the lighting effects work fine as a gameplay mechanic, they do little to enhance the mood. Lit definitely has an interesting premise, but it's just not scary. That's kind of disappointing, since the game otherwise boils down to simply working out puzzles with little reason to stop and enjoy the view. A bit more emphasis on story, along with some well-placed, jump-out-at-you moments would have really helped to round out the experience.
The aural elements aren't too memorable either, though there are some clever uses of sound via the Wii Remote. Whenever you answer a ringing phone, you'll be prompted to hold the remote to your ear, and Rachael will then talk to you through the speaker on the remote. It's another neat, little touch that adds personality to the game. The sound effects do an okay job of cuing you when engaging an object or picking up an item, but monster sounds aren't very impressive. The music, too, is kind of disappointing, with generic themes that loop over and over. That said, neither the sound nor music get in the way of playing through levels.
On the whole, Lit is a great first effort on WiiWare by WayForward. The problems the game exhibits could likely only be remedied by starting anew, and hopefully the developer will see fit to follow up with a sequel. Lit has a good foundation, it's fun and satisfying to play, and ultimately worth the 800 Wii Points. The presentation has some clever and fun touches, and frustration and blemishes not withstanding, fans of both puzzles and the macabre should definitely give the game a look.
CCC Freelance Writer