Feeble Light is a vertically-scrolling shoot ’em up that comes to us by way of prolific publishers Eastasiasoft and is the latest of a series of shooters from Panda Indie Studio who previously brought us Project Starship, Red Death, Void Gore andZ-Warp. These were all similar games to this one in so far as they had low-tech visuals and all sat within the same genre.
Each of these games provided us with similar experiences. Initially you think ‘what the hell is this?’ and you die pretty quickly but before long you start to learn the quirks of each game and eventually you finish them and think ‘well, that was better than I first thought.’ The games usually score around a 5 or 6 here at PlayStation Country but their last effort, Z-Warp, merited a respectable seven from us.
But what of Feeble Light? Well, this one starts off the same. You get past a basic menu system, start the main game, realise that your weapons are trash and that almost everything is a bullet sponge, you die eventually and then you start again. However, more so than any other game by Panda Indie, this one has issues that we can’t really get past.
The basics of the game are what you might expect. You’ve got your primary gun and a bomb, mapped toand respectively. However, you’ve also got another button assigned to your primary gun, that’s . Now moves you slowly, allowing you to thread your way through the bullet patterns the game generates. Here’s issue number one: switching from to sucks and you can’t remap. You don’t have the time to stop firing for even a split second as everything in this game takes up a lot of screen space and can absorb a lot of bullets before they die.
Then we’ve got the structure of the game. This is an endless game but there are essentially five levels before you hit the final boss. The levels are set across five different types. There’s the asteroid field level, the narrow path level and three more generic ones but they’re all randomly-generated so there’s no memorisation required here (which is good) but sometimes you will fall afoul of unavoidable damage just from how things combine. It’s unfair and just bad design. Well, non-design really.
You’ve got a power-up system which is a must in any shoot ’em up but even this is a problem. That’s mainly because you don’t really feel much benefit from the various upgrades. Whether its upgraded damage, bullets or “rateo” none of it is game-changing and the various support turrets you get don’t really make much of a difference either. If you’re unlucky enough to get just lives each time, you will definitely feel underpowered later on, but even if you get lots of weapon upgrades, you won’t ever feel devastating.
Then there’s the weird things about the game. Like how there’s no score. That’s right, there’s no score in a shoot ’em up. Which is odd because the game description refers to you chasing the high score. There is an online leaderboard but this just measures how many stages you’ve beaten which begs the question why is there an extra-difficult ‘Chaos’ mode? Then again the game blurb also refers to “thoughtfully crafted stages” which is a load of nonsense too.
And look, we know that Eastasiasoft are pretty easy-going with their trophies but the list here is awful, ranging from “unlock colour palette number 1” to “unlock colour palette number 11.” Yep, nothing for beating certain bosses, or achieving a specific score (again, there’s no score at all). It just adds to the feeling of laziness.
In terms of the palettes, while our screenshots here might make Feeble Light look kind of varied, it isn’t. You select a palette at the start of a run and that’s it for all the levels. And anyway, they’re all three-colour affairs and a large number of them are horrible. It’s a weird graphic style for this type of game. Making you, your enemies, the power-ups and all the bullets the same colour is a mistake. So to make everything stand out they make the enemies, and their bullets, huge. Which works but then that cramps the screen. And it’s all very imprecise with you weaving through things that are clearly touching you. There’s just no precision to it, not with these giant pixels.
The other blurb claim of “fluid animation” is also complete twaddle too. And the parallax scrolling effects on the levels are some of the most basic and ugly we’ve ever seen, looking far worse than things we played back on the ZX Spectrum in the ’80s.
So, yep, it’s all a bit of a mess. To be honest, this feels like it could have been Panda Indie’s first game before they got good. Compared to Z-Warp and Project Starship X, it feels like it was coded on a lazy Sunday afternoon as part of some sort of online challenge.
+ You get the PS4 and PS5 versions (both identical though)
- Messy visuals
- Weak power-ups
- No scoring
- Random levels that don't always work well
- Awful trophies
- Lacks imagination