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Earlier this year I looked at the genre of walking sim games and the success or failure of the genre as a whole. This posed a question that would not leave my mind. Is the genre truly underrated? The often-overlooked genre now has another title joining the ranks. The game in question is available now on PC and is coming to consoles on 11th August. There is a version coming for both Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One and also Nintendo Switch, all up for pre-order. It is available to wish list on the PlayStation store but doesn’t specify which console generation. Though for PC it is available via Steam after launching nearly two years ago. The Xbox store has a pre-order discount of 20% off before reverting to £8.39/$9.99. The Switch version offers the same discount and will return to £8.99/$9.99. For Steam, it retails at £3.99/$4.99.

What is Bright Lights of Svetlov all about? We can take almost all of the information from the store listing for Steam. The game is listed as a “short, story-focused first-person quest about a Soviet family facing harsh trials. Set in a fictional provincial town, it carefully recreates the atmosphere and vibe of the mid-1980s”. The listing continues to add this is set in the “Soviet Union, the mid-1980s. A small industrial town somewhere in Russia. Panel housing, ordinary repetitive jobs, boring household activities. Take a look at what family life was and at its gradual descent under the harsh trials”. The features listed are as follows.

  • Carefully depicted atmosphere of the USSR.
  • Linear, story-focused experience.
  • Do your daily routine and get to know about family members.
  • Playtime of approximately 1.5 hours.

A Deeper Look At Bright Lights Of Svetlov – What The Game Offers You

First of all, let’s take a look at the game running. Based on the console trailers we can expect visually a similar experience.

The Steam ratings are also reassuring. At the time of writing, I see

  • Recent Reviews – Very Positive (17)
  • All Reviews – Very Positive (870)

Gameplay

I ran everything at max settings and found no issues and a fairly stable frame rate. This isn’t a surprise as there is not a lot going on and you walk around your apartment and do various tasks as one family member or the other. It doesn’t offer anything new or fresh to the genre which means the game is reliant on the story and atmosphere with the visual and audio presentation.

However, the game has some issues which don’t harm the gameplay but really could be improved on. I purchased the game on the UK Steam store and on loading the game the main menu was in Russian until I changed the settings. It is a small issue that I’m sure is being sorted out. Key bindings cannot be viewed or modified either and there is no option to sprint though there’s not really much need for it having it would be a nice option.

Graphics

The graphics look really crisp and clean and the inside of the apartment looks more detailed and crafted with love. It feels like they focused more on the interior textures than the outside. Rarely do you see another character model and when you do, it’s more a ghostly humanoid shape not showing any character detail, and for me, it does detract from the presentation somewhat. The game does offer some high-quality lighting. However looking at a game of a similar length and size in Abandoned Souls, we see a big visual difference.

Audio

The sound effects are of a high caliber, and there is nothing else noteworthy to mention. We have no need for an intense musical score for a game like this but some form of music even quiet throughout the game may have made the game seem a little more inviting. Especially when you’re going from A to B and doing tasks like hammering nails into a wall or putting laundry on the line.

Story

There is very little going on storywise with this game, there is a 1980s Russian family and we go about their daily life and find out a little bit about them. When the story changes drastically towards the end, it’s not expected and I’m not sure it really adds to enhance the narrative. It’s a welcome distraction to what was fairly monotonous before.

Conclusion

I do enjoy this genre with all my heart with games such as Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture capturing my attention the most. I had no issues and found enjoyment with games like Gone Hone, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Firewatch, Lake, or What Remains of Edith Finch. I feel this game is a poorer attempt at the genre. All the games above I’ve played through more than once and will probably replay again. Though for this game I don’t even have the urge to collect one missing Steam achievement. Also for a game that lasts around an hour, I feel the console ports are overpriced.

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Bright Lights Of Svetlov

£3.99/$4.99 - £8.99/$9.99
7

Gameplay

7.0/10

Graphics

7.5/10

Audio

7.0/10

Story

6.5/10

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