S.O.L Search Of Light Review – Survive And Thrive In The Lower Depths

Figure out who The Foreigner is in S.O.L Search of Light by establishing a tower defence-like base, and exploring the lower depths.

Alright, so S.O.L Search of Light is interesting, and when the word ‘interesting’ is used, it’s usually meant to be ominous. On the one hand, this steampunk dark fantasy boasts tower defence gameplay with side-scrolling puzzle action and with emphasis on ambiguity.

Nobody cares about tutorials these days, yet the opening instructions were confusing. You play as The Foreigner and immediately befriend a robotic helper as you arrive in your underground loop. Dropping some illuminant coins animates them, and they’ll now be available to tend to your base, build up defences, and potentially upgrade your abilities to stand a chance of survival.

I played S.O.L Search of Light on a laptop using the keyboard, so perhaps this was the first hiccup, and a controller would have been best suited. The Foreigner can move left and right and drop coins, though what was missed was being able to ‘charge’ with the left mouse/trackpad. Duh. That’s obvious, but it didn’t seem like it at the time.

S.O.L. Search of Light
Source: PR

S.O.L Search of Light Review – Giz Us A Light?

In the early design stages, Trigger the Monster may have listed all the game genres that appealed to them, and instead of funnelling into one or two, they decided to go with everything. There’s the tower defence element, resource gathering, action platforming (the action being combat), puzzle solving, rogue-like elements, and <gulp> permadeath. 

From your base, you set out into a portal to explore your surroundings, accumulate more resources for survival and development, and learn about the protagonist. As one for ambiguity, I’d usually be up for this, but the mysterious element lingers for quite some time—more so because it’s difficult, and when you die, you will start afresh.

Different upgrades are available in S.O.L Search of Light at the beginning of each run, but you have to unlock them first, and boy, is it a challenge. Combat is pretty vanilla, though, so adopting a hit-and-run approach is workable. Because of the risk of procedurally generated content, it makes sense to jump over all threats and save for defending your base.

S.O.L Search of Light Review - Robo-buddy
Robo-buddy. Source: Screen capture

Energise!

To unlock new gear in S.O.L Search of Light, you must first reach certain depths. To do that, you travel through a series of randomly generated stages, using telekinesis on objects to reach new areas. You also learn how to manage your resources effectively, as they also serve as your health. This is one of the many reasons why I consider this a difficult game.

The same resource for your robots is the same for upgrades. Each depth explored reveals resources to take back with you, but these areas are ruthless, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get everything you need. One such area to upgrade is your core, which requires a fair amount of energy. While that’s upgrading, enemies will follow you back to your base and attack it.

So, that’s were you come in with your melee powers to defend your base, however, see that depleted health bar at the top of the screen? That’s because your health level is the resource you invested in your base. If the core isn’t destroyed, you will be and have to start from scratch.

S.O.L Search of Light Review - Telekinesis
Telekinesis. Source: Screen capture

I’m Going Deeper Underground

This early revelation in S.O.L Search of Light was frustrating. Instead of focusing on my base, I ensured I had enough energy to explore more depths. The enemies were relatively easy, as they could be jumped over and ignored or, using the same approach, hit, jump back, and repeat.

The enemies are the least of your worries, however. Random debris falling from the sky will take down your health, as will a multitude of traps intent on spoiling your adventure. S.O.L Search of Light isn’t brutal in its application, but it’s neither friendly nor fair.

Presentation-wise, it’s nice and minimalist. That follows through to gameplay, too, as there’s not that much to do, and you can’t get that far due to the tough mechanics. For that reason, this isn’t a game for casuals, not that rogue-likes would appeal anyway, yet there’s a challenge that will likely appeal to those willing to grind and persevere.

S.O.L Search of Light Review Summary

I enjoy tower defence titles, though S.O.L Search of Light isn’t a conventional one that you’ll immediately associate with the genre. Dark, diverse, and difficult, S.O.L Search of Light isn’t for the faint-hearted, nor is it something I have been able to finish, so for that reason, it’s unscored until I grow some cojones and can reach the lower depths.