Turn on the light Review

Completing increasing interesting abstract circuits with a simple goal, Turn on the light! In this short puzzle game players connected nested circuits to make a valid path from the switch to the bulb.

Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 1 hour

Turn on the light. A simple circuit with two dials and 3 numbered nodes, leading to a light bulb.

Released Jul 7th, 2020 by Thedox Games

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Quick Overview

Major Pros:
  • Many different mechanisms
  • Circuits inside circuits
Major Cons:
  • Short
Minor Pros:
  • Clean graphics
  • Satisfying sound effects
Minor Cons:
Turn on the light. Unusual black wire curving across the circuit. A tip at the bottom of the screen says: click another point on a wire to test the connection. Press right mouse button to cancel.

A short-circuiting tool is available to help test sections of the circuit

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In-depth Review

Turn on the light is a short minimalist puzzle game about connecting circuits and getting power from the switch to the light bulb. Players start out by arranging wire intersections but are soon faced with intervening mechanisms, splitting paths, and embedded circuits. No knowledge of real circuits is required to play Turn on the light, the circuits are purely thematic.

Turn on the light. A complex branching circuit with many nodes, gates, dials, and several embedded circuits.

A more complex circuit

Turn on the light introduces a number of different circuit components. Some of the first are easy rotating wire connections and numbered nodes that must be passed through in order. Later on, circuits may require solving mini-puzzles such as flicking switches, aligning wires, or turning magnetic dials.

Turn on the light. Circuit with a teleporter, alignment mini-puzzle, switch mini-puzzle, and an embedded circuit

Showing off some of the circuit components

One of the coolest features of Turn on the light are embedded circuits, full-size circuits that are shrunk down to fit in a single node of another. these can be nested up to 3 or 4 deep, with multiple embedded circuits at each layer. This allows for very large circuits without the area the player has to keep in mind being much bigger than one screen size.

Turn on the light. Simple circuit with two dials and two rectangles holding simple embedded circuits

The rectangles at the top of the screen show how deep the embedded circuits go

One of the things I love in abstract puzzle games is clean minimalist graphics. I really feel these keep the focus on the puzzles and provide for an elegant display that’s not distracting. Turn on the light does a great job of this, and also manages to keep a soft color palette. Interacting with many of the circuit items also produces satisfying switch clicks and the like, which I found very pleasing.

Turn on the light. An illuminated circuit with a switch mini-puzzle, dial, embedded circuit, teleporter, and AND gate.

Success!

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Recommendation

Overall, I really loved Turn on the light. It started out simple and introduced a lot of little mechanisms to tinker with to get a circuit connected. I found it to be one part casual logic puzzle and part ‘trace a line through a maze’. Its biggest drawback was simply that it was so short, the 40 levels flew by in just under an hour.

What short and sweet puzzle games do you enjoy?
Let me know in the comments below!

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