Flicker of Hope is a bit like A Tale of Paper, only I had to don the rubber pants for this one – it’s a bit scary. Not in the ‘I’m going to have nightmares about goblins and mortgages’ sense, but the type that makes you jump with its ominous lighting and the ‘will there or won’t there’ be something hiding there in the dark?
Spoiler: something is hiding in the dark, and it’s something that the vast majority of people would swipe left to. Unlike the title mentioned above, you can dip into the Z-axis with minimal restraints, though it is a side scroller.
You play Jean Wick (not Keanu Reeves, as verified by the credits – ta, Studio Whip); a candle that resembles a chicken, with a cute lil’ face where the flame goes. The aim is to escape the imminent threat in the game, letting light lead the way.
Flicker Of Hope PC Review
While I was admiring the poultry-like wax and typing these bits, poor Jean died. Art imitating life, the candle will burn out and die. This is the first of many incentives to make haste, the second is the enemies intent on putting out your flame.
Now that it was clear you need to move quickly to avoid Jean dying, he was no longer burning out – the game had crashed. Rebooting it, and not experiencing any further issues, it became clear that Flicker of Hope uses a checkpoint system when respawning and charging points to restore your wax content.
Progressing through each area, Jean will light up candles along the way, illuminate the area, and other times lighting a candelabra which is your respawn point. If you stand on the wax long enough, he’ll grow back.
Hordes Of Darkness
Besides the Dark Souls-like entity pursing you, chasing you down or reaching into crawl spaces, there are these bat-like creatures that will attack, reducing your height (a.k.a. health) extinguishing you.
The best way to circumnavigate this threat is Burry. Heaving out the wax equivalent of lung butter, Burry is a miniature version of Jean that moves twice as fast. In other words, he’s a brilliant decoy.
Struggling with holding down the shift key to sprint made me ponder a controller, but Burry is controlled with the arrow keys (Jean is bound to W, A, S and D). This works out perfectly, and aside from sending Mini Me to his death, I found myself dual-wielding the keyboard and have him keep me company, even when not needed.
Metal Gear Candle
So, you’ve surmised you can sprint in Flicker of Hope, and if you think that it’s unlikely there are any attack moves or similar, you’d be right. The key technique here is making a run for it at every opportunity, utilising Burry along the way.
Before you have access to this regurgitating ability, you can don a cap that will mute the light a little, making it easier to sneak. This mechanic was introduced early on, and I have to say, found it infuriating and far less efficient than a cardboard box.
The ‘thing’ that chases you can still see you glow, clutching at you and putting you out. An alternative is to hide under a table or similar, but it ended up grabbing you. The tooltip didn’t help as it said you’re safe under thing. Ah, it says mostly.
Let There Be Light
Flicker of Hope gave me the impression that it would be a short game, and just as I was typing this, the credits rolled after a brief cutscene. Bugger. This was excellent, but over very quick… like a candlestick… erm.
That’s not an ungrateful complaint, it was free, but the buggerations involved was the fact that it was all over. Like a white chocolate cheesecake, too much of it and you feel sick and regret it, a small portion, and you want more and savouring what you just had.
That’s Flicker of Hope; a white chocolate cheesecake for non-fatties. There was just enough to make it enjoyable, but man, I wanted more. Instead, I’ll relish in the joy it briefly brought, and to celebrate, I’m going to play it again.
If you aren’t familiar with this title, see the light and download it now on Steam – it’s marvellous.