In The Dark, from Bitmap Soft, is a new Game Boy puzzle game that aims to tax your brain while you save the world. The game feels a bit like Lights Out!, that handheld toy from the 80s that was a staple of all kids bedrooms. The story behind the puzzles is one of intrigue, you find yourself aboard a space station that has been booby trapped. It is your mission to crack the puzzles and save the day. It seems odd having a story in a puzzle game but it gave developers Bryan Taylor and Tom Lockwood a chance to show off their excellent pixel art skills.
Once you watch the excellent intro, you get down to business and begin to solve the mystery. The goal is to extinguish all the lights on a three by three square. The trouble is, once you switch a light on or off the adjacent lights also turn on or off. It sounds simple, and for the most part it is, but the puzzles quickly start to ramp up in difficulty. And it is not just turning off all the lights you need to worry about, to complete the game fully you will need to complete each puzzle in the allotted number of moves.
The first few puzzles are designed to get you used to the mechanic and you will sail through them. But once you get into it, you will find frustration at every turn as In The Dark is very hard. Each new puzzle is presented and you will be using trial and error, alongside sound judgement, through its many levels. Each block of ten levels completed will uncover a new part of the story as well as new colour palettes to use while playing. The game saves every level so it is very pick and play, you do not need to rush through or play for an extended period.
After a while, In The Dark does start to get a bit repetitive but it is a good brain workout. Also, there is essentially an infinite amount of puzzles due to the random option. The music, from composer Tronimal, is excellent and brings the amazing cutscenes to life. Puzzle fans will be in their element, this really taxes the brain and gets you thinking. Overall, with excellent artwork, great music and tough puzzles, In The Dark deserves your attention. If you’re not a puzzle fan than this one may be a bit of stretch to recommend.