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Procedurally generated apocalypse The Light Keeps Us Safe creeps out of early access


Spooky, stealthy apocalypse survival game The Light Keeps Us Safe has snuck its way out of early access. Now you can tiptoe about; avoid mean robots; and upgrade your singular line of defence, a humble torch, in its full release. It’s got a creepy new trailer to celebrate, too, so you can join me in watching this one from afar through your fingers.

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It’s a game about not being caught in the dark by murder robots, for which a flashlight comes in rather handy. Especially so when you can upgrade it, and use it for everything from stunning pursuers to solving puzzles. And also seeing more than a few feet in front of you, which you’ll need to, because there’s traps and tripwires aplenty. Presumably laid by these crafty robots because they know humans are reliant on weak, fallible things like eyes.

The biggest change coming along with the 1.0 release is difficulty sliders, which may go some way towards addressing fellow RPS contributor Fraser Brown’s biggest qualm with the game when he gave it his early access review: “It’s a shame that they make it so easy. Yes, [those scary robot pals] are very menacing, and yes, they are quite deadly, but they could be outsmarted by a Roomba.”

Alongside difficulty levels, appropriately named developers Big Robot have tweaked the environmental procgen, which should make “worlds that are slightly more challenging” in general. And they’ve also fixed some audio bugs, which is nice because Fraser writes very enthusiastically about how it sounds as good as it looks and from that trailer I can imagine why. Especially when it started playing in another tab, all screeching robot-crows and ominous humming from nowhere.

Each new killer robot emits yet another nails-on-chalkboard screech that will bounce around in your head long after you’ve fled from their clutches. They’re the sounds of factories and dial-up internet and error messages warped and twisted and remixed inside metal demons. Normally they’re just grating, but here, in moonlit swamps and forests where there isn’t another soul, they start to become malevolent.

…I keep going back to those noises and how very small and very afraid I felt, stuck in the forest with no clue where to run. I love a good scare, and The Light Keeps Us Safe is more than happy to oblige. And the lighting! Even though the sun has burned out, it’s a world of contrasts, with jet-black forests, toxic green swamps, preternaturally bright moonbeams and deadly neon warnings.

You can purchase The Light Keeps Us Safe in its 1.0 release from Steam now, where it’s on sale for 15% off until Thursday the 12th of September, making it £12.74/$16.99/€13.59.

Disclosure: Jim Rossignol, now of Big Robot, was a founding member of RPS once upon a time.

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