The Lightfall Codex
EnsenaSoft's reflex game fails to light up our lives.
EnsenaSoft's reflex challenger The Lightfall Codex is as simple a game as any we've played on our mobiles. Set within a Zuma-like Mayan temple, a grid of twelve orbs are spread across the screen and the objective is to extinguish every randomly illuminated orb with a single tap. It's a straight face-off against a series of temple inhabitants who predictably grow stronger in ability as you work your way up the dueling ladder.
For the first two levels of the game, you'll be tasked with simply extinguishing as many single lights as possible within a 60 second limit, while your opponent attempts to do the same (off-screen and without having any impact on your gameplay). If it's basic, it at least offers some tension and furious finger-work.
As you progress up the ladder of combatants, the game throws new mechanics into the mix so after after two levels of straight-up finger tapping, penalty-inducing flashing lights will occasionally appear. Touch these and you'll lose points. The next two levels focus on multiple illuminations which must all be extinguished within two seconds or you'll suffer a further penalty.
This all proceeds quite nicely until you reach the beam strike challenge which is poorly explained, and in trying to understand the process during hands-on gameplay, you'll invariable crash out of the game feeling none the wiser, and with the unforgivable punishment of having to start from the very beginning, against the competitors you've already tired of besting.
While each new element is gradually combined with its predecessors to keep your fingers twitchy, The Lightfall Codex is fundamentally very simple and repetitive stuff. The soundtrack is competent but the voice-over that introduces each opponent is flat. That you can't skip any of the dungeon denizens on future attempts is a serious oversight, and one that's unlikely to compel you to see the game through.
As a test of reflexes it's not the worst game in the world by any means, although there's an overwhelming feeling that the game has missed a few opportunities in the execution: varying grids, stage selection, or the ability to enter the training mode to practice against specific mechanics (rather than the basic "lights-out" gameplay). All or even some of these would have made the game far easier to recommend.
You can't help but feel mean when criticizing a game that's provided entirely for free, and without the typical badgering to make in-app purchases that often goes hand-in-hand with that up-front generosity. That said, personal time is as valuable a currency as any other, and while we won't deny that there are moments of entertainment to be had from The Lightfall Codex, it's a tough game to back wholeheartedly given the bustle of the App Store.
What's Hot: Good soundtrack and atmosphere, controls are suitably tight for a reflex game.
What's Not: Repetitive gameplay, poorly described mechanics, no ability to practice specific game challenges.