Happymagenta has been putting out quality games on mobile for years now, and their latest has just hit the App Store today. It’s called Hit the Light (Free) and it’s a take on a brick breaker-style of game but with some interesting twists. Each level is an intricate picture made up of neon lights, and much like real neon lights there are many different pieces of lit tubing to create the various parts of the picture. Your job is to smash or disable all of those neon pieces, but unlike a traditional brick breaker you aren’t batting a ball back into the field with a paddle. Instead you have a limited number of attack types that you can slingshot at the picture, and if you run out of them before you’ve completely destroyed the level you’ll fail. The three main attack types are: A set of 3 balls that will bounce around like a typical brick breaker game, a ninja star that will cut through layers of neon lighting but doesn’t bounce around as much as the balls, and a bomb that can be lobbed to blow up a tiny area of the playfield. If I’m doing a bad job of describing all of this, the Hit the Light trailer should make it more clear.
I have to say that what drew me to Hit the Light initially was just how gorgeous and authentic these bright, neon levels look. If this was just a static slideshow of these levels I’d probably still enjoy the heck out of it. Once I started playing though, there’s just something SO satisfying about demolishing those gorgeous neon art pieces. The smashing sounds and the gentle rumble of the haptic feedback as the neon signs are slowly destroyed is hypnotic. There’s not a ton of strategy involved, as you’re largely just letting your attacks loose and sitting back to watch the show, but there is a little bit of depth here. I’ve found that using my ninja stars at a mostly horizontal angle to wipe out as much as I can, with the balls for smaller cleanup and the bomb as a last resort, has been a good strategy so far. Later levels introduce interesting new mechanics too like additional objects for your attacks to bounce off of, multipliers that increase your attack items in play, and battery icons which will turn off the matching colors of neon in the sign thus making it so you don’t have to destroy that particular color, though those dimmed out parts will still stand in your way as objects while trying to destroy the other colors.
You also may have noticed in the trailer that there are different types of guns to use in the levels, and this is where things get a little wonky. Hit the Light is a free to play game with opt-in ads for earning in-game currency, which you can use to purchase additional attack items in a level should you run out. You can also buy the in-game currency as IAP packs, as well as an ad-disabling IAP. So far this hasn’t been an issue and I’ve played through 40 of the game’s more than 200 levels, but I know that once I get to a super difficult level where it feels like the default number of attack items isn’t quite enough I’ll be wondering if it’s that way in an effort to push me towards IAP. Oh, and about the guns. The game also offers a “VIP” subscription service that gives you additional attack items right off the bat as well as enables the use of a unique firearm for each level. As far as I can tell there’s no way to use the firearms other than being a VIP subscriber, aside from a brief trial that lets you use a handgun during a level for free. Honestly I didn’t think the gun was even close to being as much fun as the normal weapons so I haven’t missed it (or felt like I’ve needed it in any way) since, but it’s still kind of off-putting that it’s a thing.