The main problem with Striving for Light: Survival is that it lacks the dopamine rush that makes playing action rogue-like games so fun and addictive; by offloading all upgrades to a generic skill tree and lacking any form of in-round upgrades or power-ups, each round and run feels like a poor imitation of Brotato, while lacking the light-hearted and fast-paced gameplay that makes the former one of the best indie games I have ever played.
After playing for just a few minutes, I was bored, and even when I played for a prolonged time and unlocked new maps and items, Striving for Light: Survival still felt more like a chore than a good time, and while the upgrade tree does have a few interesting nodes, for the most part, it is a series of uninteresting stat boosts or increased crit chances.
While these boosts are useful, they lack the cool factor of unlocking a flowing sword right as a boss enters the map or finally maxing out a weapon upgrade moments from being overwhelmed by hordes of enemy units.
By offloading all upgrades to a skill tree and forcing players to wait till the end of each round to select one or two aesthetically and mechanically uninteresting upgrades, the developer of Striving for Light: Survival has succeeded in making an action rogue-like title that is less interesting (and less addictive) than filing a tax return.
While there could be more than one person at Igniting Spark Games, Striving for Light: Survival feels like the work of a solo developer, and nowhere is this more evident than the voiceovers during the intro, which can best be described as a bad impression of epic trailer voice, with the speaker using reverb to deepen his voice and disguise a heavy European accent.
It is the type of thing I would have done when making small movies in the early 2000s, and while it’s charming in a wrinkle-your-nose and exclaim “aw, that’s adorable” way, it’s not very professional. It sets the tone for the rest of the game, which feels more like a desperate developer’s desperate attempt to reuse assets from Striving for Light (to avoid losing money) more than a genuine attempt to create a game that people will want to play for more than a few minutes before returning to better games.
Striving for Light: Survival utilises hand-drawn art, and to give credit where it is due, it is of mostly high quality, while some aspects are baffling, and the artist seems to have trouble drawing feet from a certain angle, for the most part, the sprites look great, unlike the laughably bad animations, with hero characters running like Fred Flintstone, and boss attacks seeming to comprise of as little as two frames, resulting in comically quick actions that cause me to laugh out loud literally more than once.
The strangest aspect of the hand-drawn art, however, is the busty angel with the pointy tiny feet, whose breasts grew larger and more exposed as time went on, a curious design choice and one that makes Striving for Light: Survival look very amateurish, and the developer once again appears desperate to attract attention to Striving for Light: Survival and one that appears to have ultimately failed to work in the least.
There is no realistic scenario in which Striving for Light: Survival is not abandoned shortly after launch.
It is a failed spin-off of a failed early access action rogue-like that peaked at just 44 concurrent players and is a sequel to yet another title (Striving for Light) in the same genre that peaked at just 22 concurrent players, and while this is unhappy truth for some to grasp, we must be realistic.
No one will invest in a game that sold this poorly, and Igniting Spark Games cannot be expected to continue the development of a title that very likely made less than $1000 profit if it managed to make any profit at all.
No one would want to continue the development of such a game if they were in Igniting Spark Games’ place, and as a Christian, I cannot help but be reminded of the words of Jesus.
If I had spent time and money making a game, only to end up with a net loss (when including the time I spent on making the game), I would welcome mercy and compassion instead of judgment and harsh words, and I imagine most of you reading this would feel the same way.
Striving for Light: Survival is a action rogue-like video game developed and published by Igniting Spark Games, it was released on 2 December 2023 and retails for $4.99.
Striving for Light: Survival is available exclusively on PC.
The following peripherals are officially supported:
Striving for Light: Survival is unrated and contains the following:
Striving for Light: Survival is a decent but hardly unmissable action rogue-like in a thriving market brimming with better titles; overall not a bad game, but certainly not one that I would feel comfortable recommending.