The physics puzzle genre is oversaturated to say the least with many following along the lines of Angry Birds. The style of tossing something into a group of enemies has become its own genre thanks to the popularity of Angry Birds. Stay Alight is a brand new variation, and it offers the same idea, but surprisingly feels like a different experience. You launch light orbs to decimate germs in a garbage heap, but the atmosphere makes it feel fresh. The entire game has an absolutely gorgeous design with a style reminiscent of the original BioShock with creepy dilapidated everyday objects. There’s a polish, and sheen to each object, and it’s such a stark contrast to the garbage items being depicted.
The parasites are crawling over old shoes, dolls, rubber duckies, clocks, and other dilapidated goods, and you need to precisely toss the light orbs through the gaps. The game offers up plenty of precision as you can control not only the aim, but also the power of your shot. There are 60 unique levels with each one requiring quite a bit of thought, and skill to get rid of all the parasites in as few shots as possible. As you advance, there are unique light orbs for special power-ups, and one of the best features is a side kick in some levels to change the angle of attack.
The overall experience is so finely designed, and yet you can’t help getting over the familiarity. The main drawback is that it’s such a methodical game that is so slow moving that it borders on tediousness. Each shot needs to directly hit an enemy, so the environments aren’t that interactive, and it makes every shot require so much precision. Stay Alight is mesmerizing to look at, but the gameplay just doesn’t inspire much incentive to keep playing. The levels start to feel like chores, and the slow pace becomes frustrating above all else. The challenge is in exactness above all else, as you can easily glance at a level, and known exactly what to do. You’re then left with the rudimentary task of getting the aim, and power just right over, and over again.
Stay Alight ($0.99, iPhone / $0.99, iPad) is brightly designed, but the gameplay comes up lacking with such a slow moving, and tedious nature that takes away from the whole experience. The game is beautiful, but more of a hassle then anything else, making it worth skipping.