Simple Light Cycles Review

Screenshot from Simple Light Cycles
Simple Light Cycles actually supports 8 players multiplayer but that's four on the keyboard and four on controllers

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Kelsam
  • Publisher: Kelsam
  • Release Date: 17 Jun 2017
  • Time played: 1.7 hours

What is it

Ever watched a movie from 1982 called Tron?

Well if you did, you'll probably remember the "Light Cycle" Battle scene where Jeff Bridges's character CLU has to avoid being killed by the Master Control Unit's minions, who are also riding light cycles. These light cycles leave an impassable wall behind them so if you're unfortunate enough to collide your own light cycle into one of them, it's game over. Tron wasn't the first to introduce this game to the masses; the gameplay seen during the light cycle battle is now a video game genre simply called "Snake" that was first introduced by the 1976 arcade game Blockade. It was then popularised in the 1980s thanks to movies like Tron and in the 1990s by Nibbles (a Snake clone demonstrating Microsoft's programming language QBASIC) and Snake on Nokia mobile phones.

Anyway, that's why this game is called Simple Light Cycles (it's a reference to Tron if you haven't figured out by now) and the gameplay is kind of similar to what occurs in the movie except you can play the game against your friends in local multiplayer.

The developer, Kelsam, says the game was developed because

"… we had been playing a similar game, with our family and friends, that was unresponsive and buggy. We wanted to create a title with the simplest, most responsive gameplay possible."

How I got it

I received some Steam Credit for Christmas (thanks bro) so I bought a whole bunch of games. My major purchases were Steel Division: Normandy 44 as well as Rocket League and the To the Moon 5-Year Anniversary Bundle but I also got a couple of smaller indie games with the remaining couple of bucks I had including Rogue Quest: The Vault of the Lost Tyrant and, of course, this game, Simple Light Cycles.

I'm always on the lookout for games to play on my Steam Link, ones that have local multiplayer and are simple enough to play with my young kids. This one seems to tick all the right boxes which is why I bought a copy (it's also hard to argue with the 62c price tag).

Screenshot from Simple Light Cycles
The game offers some additional options such as the ability to fire projectiles or place obstacles

What I like:

Great soundtrack

The electronic dance music by TranceBeatPony definitely gets you into party game mode. I particularly like the main menu theme, "We Were Together", as well as the groovy "Electric Saturn".

Fun party game

Just like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, this game is an ideal party game as it's (a) easy to learn the controls for the game and (b) it's an entertaining game for spectators. It also works on the Steam Link with Logitech F710 controllers (but you can choose to use a solitary keyboard if you're able to squeeze four people around it).

It's Snake but more

The game does offer some new options to ensure the old formula doesn't go stale such as obstacles/debris on the map and even the ability to fire projectiles at each other so it becomes a vehicular combat game instead of simply an avoiding collisions game.

Steam Achievements

There are 10 Steam Achievements you can earn in this game. The game has no Steam Trading Cards or Steam Leaderboards integration.

What I dislike:

Primitive graphics

It's part of the game's charm but some players might be put off by 1960s era computer graphics.

Better with friends

There is no reason to play single player except for getting a couple of achievements quite easily (ones where you survive for a certain number of minutes). It would've been better if they included more single player achievements related to the additional game modes. It also would've been good if they integrated the game with Steam Leaderboards as that would've helped the game with respect to its longevity.

Score – 7/10 (Good)

As the name implies, this is a simple, bare-bones implementation of local multiplayer "light cycles" or Snake and if that's all you're looking for, you've hit the jackpot. The game even throws in some additional game modes to revitalise the old formula as well as a great soundtrack to boot. If you're intending to only play the game single player though or you're somehow expecting more in the graphics department, you'll be disappointed.

Is the game worth $2.95 AUD?: Yes, WYSIWYG. If you want a no-frills local multiplayer clone of Snake, then three bucks isn't too much to ask for.

If you like this game, you might like…

[ LINK: Official Simple Light Cycles Website ]