I’m always down for a text-based game. I found joy in games like Subsurface Circular, Code 7, and The Lost Legends of Redwall: Escape the Gloomer. As such, I’m already interested in what Lightstep Chronicles is trying to sell me. I got a chance to play the first 30 minutes of this dark sci-fi text adventure, and see if it’s going to be worth keeping an eye on. So does this chronicle really have a light step, or does it only manage to trip on itself?
First things first, Lightstep Chronicles takes place in the same world as the Lighstep comic series from Dark Horse. I’ve never read the series, nor even heard of it, before this game. Thankfully I never felt lost while playing and my only hope is that the game continues to successfully stay in the universe without feeling the need to read all the accompanying material. You play as Captain Cain Phoenix, a man who goes to inspect a crashed spaceship with his squad. They’re taken prisoner while inside the ship, leaving Cain alone and trapped with an AI known as Aleph. Aleph explains that they need help getting control of the ship from some other rogue AIs. However, just how far the bot can really be trusted is a pressing question.
In what I got to see, I’m already trying to figure out where the plot is going and everyone’s role in it. The central mysteries, both on what happened to the ship and which AIs can actually be trusted, is fantastic. Each of the two AI in the demo already creep me out. Aleph’s nervous disposition doesn’t feel entirely honest with its motivations. I ran into another AI that seemed more interested in quoting poetry, but it also seemed to have its own agenda. I also wondered just how many of these situations I could manage to talk out of. In the section I played, Cain sits tied securely to a chair. It seems unlikely that escape is even possible.
In most of Lightstep Chronicles‘ demo, I chatted with AI, which was simple enough. I often had two to four options of dialogue for Cain to say, and they gave me more than enough to feel like I was able to define Cain as a unique character. While it didn’t seem like I could radically alter the story, what little control I did have was enough. Cain is a prisoner after all.
Outside of talking, there is some possible light interaction. Cain can enter Control Mode, which allows him to scan the environment and find points to interact with using his chair. You’ll be able to look through various drones while using Control Mode, and swapping between them is necessary to scan and interact with the entire area. There’s only a single puzzle available in the demo. All I really had to do was interact with a pair of pillars to close a shutter. It felt more like a tutorial setting up the mechanic for future use, so we’ll see what more there is to do with Control Mode in the full release.
There are also some fantastic graphics to go with all this. The art style is really interesting, and what glimpses I’ve seen of Lightstep Chronicles so far have me excited to peek at more. There’s also some good dark music that fits the tone of the scenes quite well. I do wish the game had some voice acting to go with all the dialogue, but not having it isn’t that huge of a negative.
While I didn’t get to see as much as I’d hope, my initial impressions of Lightstep Chronicles are quite positive. I’m already extremely interested just to see where this story is going. In addition to this, I’m hoping it’ll make up for the current lack of any text adventures occupying my life. I can check out the comic to bide my time. Who knows, I may accidentally have stumbled upon a new favorite.
TechRaptor previewed Lightstep Chronicles on PC via Steam using a copy provided by the developer. The game will launch in Spring 2019.