Disclaimer: This review of In Rays Of The Light was conducted using a code given to us through Keymailer. This does not affect our judgement of the game and is explained for the purposes of transparency.
In Rays Of The Light is the latest game from developer Sergey Noskov. Some of you may know Noskov from “7th Sector”; a puzzle-solving game based in a cyberpunk setting. But In Rays Of The Light is actually a remake of a 2012 game called The Light. The game features some minor puzzle elements, a lot of environmental storytelling. But it is more of a walking simulator than it is a puzzle-based game.
The game is set against the backdrop of a nuclear apocalypse. In Rays Of The Light is set in what appears to be a school, albeit an abandoned one. The character is seemingly the last human on Earth and explores the environment of the game freely. Storytelling is done via notes that are left in the environment. They explain people’s thoughts and emotions both during the attack itself, as well as during the aftermath. The game serves as a reflection of mankind’s self-destructive nature and claims that we will eventually wipe ourselves out in a nuclear war.
The message of In Rays Of The Light may be dark and somber, but there is something eerie about the abandoned setting of the game. It shows the player just how much of an impact humans have on the planet we call home. Plants and vegetation have overgrown the buildings, now that humans no longer exist to interfere with nature. That being said, I personally think there is an irony to discussing humans’ overdependence on technology in a video game. But the point hits hard nonetheless.
A Textbook Walking Sim
In terms of gameplay, In Rays Of The Light is a textbook walking simulator. The player explores the open area, occasionally coming across a puzzle that needs solving. These normally involve gathering items, such as a fuse or petrol for a generator. There are also times in which the player must enter a number into a combination lock to be able to progress the game. This assumes the player has explored the area and interacted with the majority of things in it. There is one section of the game in which the player must navigate an underground tunnel. With a lighter to guide them (or a flashlight should you choose to take it), the tunnel does feel very claustrophobic. Other than that though, the game does nothing that makes it stand out in its genre.
Graphically the game performs very poorly on Switch. The camera feels clunky, and the game seems to run at a decreased framerate. Turning the camera results in the camera turning, with the flashlight taking a second or so to catch up. Pressing the button to sprint also takes a second or two before the character starts running. The ambient audio of the game matches the mode of isolation and the abandoned setting. I cannot fault it for this. But the overall performance of In Rays Of The Light led me to feel I was playing a very early tech demo, rather than an actual fully-developed game. In my research before writing this, I have seen that the game performs better on other platforms. The gameplay footage I saw from a PS5 appeared to run a lot smoother, however, I cannot comment on any other platforms the game is on.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend buying In Rays Of The Light. At least not on Nintendo Switch. The game itself is very short, maybe an hour or so. It runs very poorly on Switch, and if you do wish to experience the abandoned environment for yourself I would research how it performs on whichever platform you are considering buying it from. It’s a shame, because the poor performance of the game took away from what could have been a nice experience.