STAFF REVIEW of Rayland (Xbox One)

Friday, July 29, 2022.
by Peggy Doyle

Rayland Box art From Brazilian developer, Naoka Games, and EastAsiaSoft Limited (Hong Kong), comes the futuristic light manipulation puzzler, Rayland. There is a story involved here, one that I had to look up as I don’t believe there was any narrative at the beginning of the game. The inhabitants of Rayland use energy from the ‘Domus’ (red sphere) to survive. They have to use the ‘Reflectus’ to direct the rays of light across various lands to reach the Domus. Your job is to help them with this task.

Ultimately your mission in the game is to move the light beams from A to B. The emitter (A) and receiver (B) are both stationary and you can move the reflectors to any squares on the map and rotate them freely. You are using only two buttons in the game. With gameplay so simplistic, you’d think the controls would be perfect, but they aren’t. I didn’t struggle too much but there were times when it seemed that the reflector just wouldn’t drop on the square that was highlighted, or that I thought was highlighted. Not a huge deal or a game breaker, more just frustration.

Light manipulation puzzles aren’t new, and Rayland doesn’t break any new ground here. With any puzzle game, players should expect the game to progress in difficulty. I simply didn’t find that to be the case with Rayland. The first ten puzzles were almost identical and you can complete them in about two seconds each. The next ten were slightly harder, but there wasn’t really any progression in difficulty or skills learned or needed. Eventually you’ll have two light beams to manipulate, and also trying to manipulate intersecting beams, but that’s about as complex as I experienced. I completed the first 30 levels in twenty to thirty minutes. 30 levels are all that are required to complete all achievements on Xbox.

Graphically, Rayland has a futuristic space age vibe with really simple and clean animation design. Nothing to complain about in this department as it looked like it should for a game like this. It was really crisp looking on the Series X. I was more impressed with the music though. From the moment it opened on my loading screen I was taken with the chill vibe and sci-fi edge. I was really excited with the music at the opening and thought maybe I was going to be getting something equally exciting once it launched. I could sit and listen to that soundtrack for awhile for sure.

I honestly wanted more difficulty, more skills and more challenges. I absolutely adore puzzle games and I do want something that gives me a bit of a challenge from time to time. Something that makes my brain really think about things and gives me a real sense of accomplishment when I figure it out. There really isn’t anything in the way of replay value for Rayland either, sadly. No collectibles to hunt after or extra modes to open up. There is so much that could be built upon here. That being said, it’s a dream game for gamers who like to collect all achievements when playing. Nothing missable, short play time and inexpensive to buy. If you are an achievement hunter, it should be added to your list.

I realize my review may come across as negative, and it isn’t really. I enjoyed what I played, I just wanted more. Rayland looked great and had fantastic music but it was a bare-bones puzzle game though. For the low price, it’s a good enough puzzle game to quickly bulk up your Gamerscore, I just wish it had made my brain work a little harder.

**Rayland was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 6.5 / 10
Gameplay: 5.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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