PAX West 2017: Light Tracer Puts a VR Twist on Platformers

One of the many VR games at PAX West this year, Light Tracer gives players a whole new way to play one of the first genres in video games: puzzle platformers.

In Light Tracer, a little princess is on a quest to save her people. They’re sick, and at the top of a tall tower, there’s an antidote. You play as a god-type character with a wand that shoots a beam of light, and the princess trusts you to lead her safely to the top of the tower. She trusts you completely, though, so cutting corners will result in her falling to her doom.

Mechanically, it’s simple. You’ll use the left hand to move yourself around the map, changing your perspective and making it easier to guide the princess. The left hand can also move specific things in the environment, like certain platforms that can be moved laterally or vertically. The right hand holds the wand. Pulling the trigger on the right Move controller makes the princess move, so you have to make sure you’re pointing it at a spot she can get to without falling or hurting herself. She can also jump if you press the X button on the right controller, allowing her to reach coins and areas she wouldn’t be able to walk to. This mechanic of guiding the princess is combined with jumping, making for a new way of platforming that is hard to wrap your head around at first, but is actually really fun once you get the hang of it.

There will be eight chapters to Light Tracer, with varying environments that contain different kinds of puzzles and eventually enemies that you’ll have to take on if you’re to make it to the top of the tower. I was told the princess would eventually get a sword, but in the demo at PAX West, it was just solving puzzles and platforming to the top. There was a boss at the end of the demo that I had to take down without a weapon. It involved dodging the beasts blasts and angling it so that they ricochet off walls and hit the enemy instead. It was a fun battle that was actually pretty challenging, considering the two times I died I had to restart from the beginning.

Light Tracer is also great in its art style. It’s got a chibi and all around cute look. Even the enemy at the end I would want as a little action figure on my desk. It’s all adorable and accompanied with the calm but groovy music behind it, making for a fun and interesting world to play in. The art is also unaffected by zooming in. The little princess looks just as cute up close as she does from your normal stepped-back view.

Light Tracer is set for launch sometime later this month. It will be coming to PlayStation VR only for now, but the PR representative from Oasis Games I talked to said they would love to bring it elsewhere.