The forces of darkness have descended and you, a Guardian, must venture out and destroy the dark beings with your magical powers and radiating goodness.
If you were to search for this term on the computer at the front desk of the library of video games there would be ten thousand results. A radical take on the mythology of light and dark Light a Way is not.
But it's original in other ways. Playing as a little girl, you have to destroy an endless succession of evil blobs to earn points to spend on upgrading your character and acquiring new creatures to add to your party. These magical creatures drift and float around you like colorful, deadly lanterns.
The further you get, the more powerful you become, but the monsters you encounter become more resilient too, placing you in a magic-fuelled arms race with the forces of evil.
Playing as a little girl, you have to destroy an endless succession of evil blobs to earn points to spend on upgrading your character and acquiring new creatures to add to your party.
Light a Way is beautiful, from the polished text-free comic book intro to the artsy in-game visuals. The light and dark motif allows for a gorgeous ethereal aesthetic where fairies and lumis dance around like colorful fireflies, shooting out beams of light at your enemies.
It's also packed with lots of other great stuff. As you progress, you'll unlock and obtain different staffs, spells, runes, fairies, and more. Additionally, at any given moment there are items for you to upgrade with the points that you extract from whichever dark creator you happen to be defeating at the time. There are also achievements and daily rewards to claim whenever you can find a moment amid the carnage.
But Light a Way's biggest pro is the way it takes an established mobile genre - the casual ARPG - and mashes it together with another established genre - the cookie clicker - to create something original.
Most ARPGs give you the option of either hacking and slashing by yourself or letting the AI complete levels for you, indicating that combat is not particularly relevant in games that are really about the upgrade loop. Light a Way is a clever halfway house, giving a sense of tactile involvement in the action but in the most streamlined possible way. It's pretty clever.
Of course, not everybody rates cookie clickers, and if you're the sort of person who just doesn't see the point in repeatedly tapping on the screen - something a dog could realistically be trained to do - then Light a Way probably won't impress you.
And once you realize that the blobs you're attacking don't fight back, but just sit there and take a beating until they die, Light a Way loses its sense of jeopardy. At first, you'll frantically race to apply upgrades during bouts to boost your powers, but after a while, you'll realize that you can do your magical upgrade admin at your leisure while your opponent patiently waits to be slaughtered.
Again, this won't bother you if you buy into the whole cookie clicker thing. However, if you're expecting something more conventional you may end up disappointed.
Light a Way is a gorgeous ARPG with a distinctive, charming aesthetic. Developer Appxplore has cleverly taken a gameplay mechanic that's more about the thrill of upgrading than it is about the fighting, and stripped the action back to its minimal viable state, while still giving the player a palpable sense of involvement in the fights.
This makes for a decidedly casual take on the ARPG genre, with very little in the way of challenge. As long as you keep tapping, applying the upgrades that rapidly become available, unlock the stuff you're prompted to open and claim the things you're led to claim, you'll cruise along until you finish the game or put it down.
If you're looking for a thrill ride or a challenge of any kind, look elsewhere. But if you're in the market for a pretty, chilled out, meditative experience to engage you in a pleasingly undemanding feedback loop for a while, Light a Way will fit the bill.