The Lighthouse HD is a seafaring path-drawing game that pits the player against whirlpools, giant squids and his or her ability to multitask. The second iPad game produced by indie company Kavcom Limited, The Lighthouse HD is a well-designed and exciting game that doesn’t bog the player down with convoluted plot devices or logic.
In fact, the mission is simple: Save some ships and get points.
The Lighthouse HD’s playing style is along the lines of other path-drawing games, such as popular iPhone game Flight Control. In fact, I sort of consider The Lighthouse HD to be the Flight Control of the sea. Considering how much I enjoy playing Flight Control, I consider that a compliment.
The controls in this game are pretty easy to grasp – though I do recommend playing the tutorials first, which can be found in-game while it’s paused. The player uses his or her finger to move the lighthouse’s spotlight across the dark waters, helping ships avoid dangerous obstacles in order to find their way to open ocean. The light can only be seen by the ships from a pretty close distance, which makes for harder gameplay when several ships are on the sea at once.
On a separate note, I really liked how the beam coming from the lighthouse, entirely esthetic in nature, moved in coordination with where my finger moved the spotlight. A nice, clever detail.
The graphics in this game are pretty impressive. The water moves against the coastline, the ships leave small waves behind them and the fog cleverly laps at the corners of the screen. It may not look entirely realistic, but it’s clear the designers put a lot of time, love and attention into how the game looks and feels.
There are several levels of gameplay to be explored, each one with a new map and mission. Whether it be rescuing abandoned lifeboats, helping a yacht avoid a giant squid or just making sure the ships leave the harbor safely, there is a wide variety of things to do. I will admit, I liked some missions more than others: Mainly, I cannot stand that giant squid.
The deadly squid (seen above demolishing yet another sea vessel) is supposed to be killed by a flare fired from the lighthouse; but by the time the flare reaches the spot, the squid has already done its business and the ship is destroyed. Then it goes back and kills the passengers in the lifeboat, leaving a bloody mess in its wake. I have, at this point, never saved a ship from a giant squid. That thing is evil.
However, that wasn’t the hardest thing about this game. As the game progresses in difficulty, more and more ships will start coming out at the same time. While some people may feel comfortable in tower defense or strategy games that require a lot of multitasking, it is admittedly not my greatest strength. As ships started coming out in droves, it became challenging to navigate all of them to the right locations.
I will not say that is a bad thing; in fact, I found my navigation skills improving as I continued to play the game. I may even go as far as to recommend this game for people like myself who need a little extra practice multitasking and strategizing.
If I were able to make any suggestions to the game’s makers, I would suggest better achievements. While point-grabbing is fun for some, there is not a lot of incentive for those who don’t really care about points to continually play the game. Perhaps there could be some badges added for unique achievements, such as saving 20 lifeboats, quickest time or even just reaching a certain level of points. It would encourage repeated gameplay, since no one can resist securing that last badge or medal.
There are plenty of things to enjoy about The Lighthouse HD, and very few things not to. While the achievement system isn’t very strong, the actual gameplay is. It’s easy to learn and exciting to play; I found myself feeling bad every time a ship crashed, leaving a poor defenseless lifeboat behind in the cold, dark water.
For those looking for an intriguing path-drawing game that doesn’t ask for much but gives plenty, I definitely recommend giving The Lighthouse HD a try. It’s definitely a win in my book.
Here’s an App Store link for The Lighthouse HD; it’s currently priced at $2.99.
Disclosure: A promo code for this game was provided by Kavcom Limited. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.