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App Army Assemble: Candleman - A clever puzzler which shines a fresh light on the genre?

Put it to the test
Product: Candleman | Format: Android, iPhone, iPad
Candleman Android, thumbnail 1
Candleman is one of the few mobile games I've played in a while that I've truly enjoyed from start to finish, all elements included. As a little anthropomorphic candle, you work through darkened levels, using light as sparingly as possible. 

Though your wick can only burn for ten seconds total, there's a lot you can do with such a little amount of time, but you've got to put in the effort and use your smarts. 

It certainly looks great and the audio is very fitting. At Pocket Gamer, we gave it a Silver Award in its review saying it's, "An elegant, imaginative platformer with an intriguing mechanic and beautiful visuals."

What will our App Army think, though? That's the really important question. 

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Steve Clarke

It's rare to see something new in a genre as old as platformers, but somehow Candleman has managed it with style aplomb.

You basically play as Lumière from Disney's Beauty and the Beast, a comparison not entirely outlandish as the world Candleman inhabits is gorgeous and could easily be straight from a Disney movie. The illumination mechanics are handled and implemented superbly, adding a level of tension to what might otherwise be a run-of-the-mill game.

I dare say I haven't enjoyed a platformer as much as this since Mario 64. If you've ever enjoyed a platform game you should definitely consider this one. 

Scott Messina

This game is really fun. It's a 3D platformer with fantastic, cartoony graphics where you play a candle that needs to light ten other candles within the level and find the exit. The candles you need to find are well-hidden, so there's some fun exploration to have.

Each level adds some new mechanics that keep everything interesting and exciting. I'm really looking forward to playing through the first half of the game before the second half releases in a few weeks/months. 

Mark Abukoff  (iPhone 7)

This is an excellent, moody platformer. The music sets the tone very well and even the sound of the 'footsteps' adds to the atmosphere. Learning to jump and light candles along the way is easy and, even before I understood the goal, I felt as if each bit of dropped wax was some of the Candleman's lifeblood left on the surfaces.

The challenge ramps up fairly quickly, but don't let that discourage you. Candleman is gorgeous and well worth the work. While the mechanics aren't really different from most mobile platformers, what sets Candleman apart is the wonderful moodiness. For that and the ease of control, I enthusiastically recommend this game.

Funem (Samsung Galaxy S8+)

Candleman is a great looking game. Set in semi darkness, you must balance lighting your wick for a brief glimmer of extra light to help reveal your way and also light the other candles in the level. Burn too much, however, you die.

The graphics look basic until you start moving then you realise how great they actually look and how smoothly things move about. The dynamic lighting is handled superbly especially when you light your wick or light another candle, and the water and mirrors also look great. It's basically a platformer, but its take on it makes it feel fresh. A shining light in the sea of free to play games on both iOS and Android app stores. Highly recommended.

Swapnil Kumar

After Limbo, this is the best platformer I've played on mobile, and it's quite creepy. A candle moves through a gorgeously crafted 3D dungeon (with thick chains, boxes, creeks and all) to light up its compadre candles. The trick is - it melts.

It's really easy yet tricky to play, and the adaptive camera is superb. Thanks App Army for giving me a chance to play such a wonderful game.

Roman Valerio Candleman (iPad Air, iOS 11.3)

Candleman is an entertaining, suspenseful, atmospheric experience. It is a blinding light at the end of the darkest tunnel of boring, identical, and poorly made games. This dazzling masterpiece delivers in a big way: a gripping story with a professional voice-over, masterfully executed concept of mixing light with shadows, unique environments that beckon to investigate and true-to-life sound effects completing this radiantly bleak picture.

With ten seconds of burning time at your disposal and ten lives per level to spare, you venture out into the unknown macabre world, exploring its every nook and cranny in search of candles to light up and a glowing exit to reach. Here, attention to detail is paramount, like the wax stains marking your trodden path and the 'melting' effect, causing our protagonist to get smaller with every successive flicker.

Oh, and I absolutely loved the idea of each level title being a line from a verse and by beating them perfectly you can unlock the whole poem. The controls, especially the jump mechanics, might be a little bit nerve-wracking, but when the game is this brilliant you get a burning desire to persevere no matter what. This is the first game in a long while that I completed 100% and I thoroughly savoured every second of this candle-lit journey. 

Scott Burton

In this ethereal, dreamlike platformer, you are a small candle trying to get through each level. What makes this unique is the candles you need to collect by lighting them, shortening your life span with each flick.

The hauntingly beautiful levels have rich puzzles embedded within them, ramping up difficulty quickly, but never more than you can handle. With ten lives at your disposal, and armed with only a jump and light, I found while jumping I accidentally light up often. I wish I could switch the two mechanics up to save candles.

I haven't played a game with this much ambient and fluid world since Limbo. Once you get the jumping down, it's easy to settle in for an enjoyable ride. 

Ed Davis

This is a beautifully simplistic game that leaves you wanting more. Playing this in the dark with headphones on is the way to do it. The dim lighting accompanied by the tense music makes for a very eerie experience. The controls are well made and don't hinder the gameplay at all.

The game never gets too difficult, but you have to make sure you manage your burn. You have to do a bit of searching if you want to find all the candles, but for those of us that are impatient you can settle for only finding a few before moving onto the next level.

Quincy Jones (iPhone 8 Plus/iPad Air) 

Candleman is a beautiful game to look at without a doubt. The dark, haunted house-look really works for setting up the right atmosphere. My biggest complaint with games today is the lack of syncing, so I was pleasantly surprised to find I could continue playing on either device.

As for gameplay, it ran quite well on both devices and it definitely delivered a satisfying experience. The music and sound effects are great (enjoy with headphones) and the game mechanics are pretty simple to understand.

I think a lot of people were a bit concerned after reading the game's description in the App Store about exactly what we were getting as far as quality and length, but for what's available already it's more than worth the price

Lalol Hernández Gómez Candleman (iPhone 7)

One of my favorite genres on mobile are platformers since they adapt surprisingly well using touch controls when done right. However, most of the times they offer flat experiences and nothing is memorable. Let me tell you - Candleman is none of them.

This is a beautiful platformer with an interesting mechanic: Light. You have limited time to burn your own wick, but different things such as fauna, candles, the light of the moon through the ship, and metal igniting on fire will light up your way.

New mechanics are added throughout and the immersion is huge, and that's thanks to detailed audio and its original levels. Regarding the controls they're okay, but could do with some work because some parts of the game require precision.

There are some minor frame drops here and there, but when a game is this good you can easily ignore those.

Emmanuel Tin

In an abandoned ship, you're the only living candle - why?

There's a surprising background story behind this physics-based platformer. With a dark atmosphere, ambient music, and realistic sounds, this game reminds me of Inside and Little Nightmares.

You're a candle and the only way to reach the exit of each level is to consume yourself. It's too dark to walk without a light. So you have to gauge between sight and life. Other candles can help you on your path as save-points and lighting. Like other physics-based platformers, you have to guess how to reach the end by moving objects, and by observing moving platforms to get all the candles.

It's a very well designed game coupled with an intriguing story, and a must-have.

Armaan Modi (Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro)

Candleman is a different experience when it comes to platformers. The levels feel mysterious, but, while I like the game so far, there seems to be a performance issue as the framerates are a bit inconsistent. I hope that the developers optimise it better for the new Snapdragon GPUs.

The controls can definitely be improved, but the good thing is that there are no buttons getting in the way. The graphics are not that intensive so I wasn't expecting frame drops in the game. The interface can also be improved.

Dries Pretorius (iPad Air)

This is a platformer that's off the rails on all fronts. Candleman is a game apart, aesthetically, and its screencaps look like art. The 3D platforming gameplay is unlike any iOS game I've played to date. There is no 2.5D orientation to simplify the timing of jumps. You have to work out the jump angle, then run it in darkness, occasionally flashing light to gauge distance, and make the leap right off the edge of the platform.

The game gradually ramps up the precision of the platforming and the complexity of the puzzles. There are no invisible walls to keep you from plunging into the abyss, and the dangers facing this brave little sentient candle feels real and close. The atmosphere reminds me of Amnesia the Dark Descent, and is just as immersive and engaging. The sound design also stands apart complementing the visual aesthetic for a beautiful and immersive experience which, like Amnesia, is best enjoyed in the dark with headphones.

This is a rewarding and engaging experience I'd recommend to anyone who loves games.

Oksana Ryan (iPad Pro)

I love this game. The music is atmospheric and suits the gameplay, the controls are easy to use, and the graphics are beautiful. It's not a difficult game to master, though on occasions moving forward can be tricky.

I like the fact that if you die you don't have to go too far back to continue and you have more than enough lives to get you to the next level - though once you've mastered the controls they're not really needed.

The game is one of strategy. How often to light your candle to see in front of you without running out of wax and timing jumps accurately is crucial. All in all, it's a really good game and one I would definitely recommend.

Rohit Bhatia (Nexus 5x)

After Leo's Fortune this is a platformer I thoroughly enjoyed. It's got fantastic visuals, good controls, and buttery smooth gameplay. I am only on chapter three, but I'm excited to see what more it brings to the table as there are three more chapters to go.

The most amazing aspect of the game is its lighting effects. They are so well done I was playing at night and it was so appealing that I played it over an hour and was not bored by the game at all. The ambient music is also very nicely attached to the game.

The only it lacks is challenge, but that is not applied to the game at all. I recommend it to many friends who like to play games or not. It appeals to everyone.

Rebecca Parsons (iPad Pro)

It's definitely a beautiful game. Like others have said, it's best played with the lights out. The controls work well for the most part, but there've been quite a few times when I've burned instead of jumped, or done both at once. Holding a 12.9 inch iPad Pro makes things even more awkward, and quite a few times I've ended up wandering off the edge. I would have preferred on-screen buttons, but it's no biggie as there's not a lot to the controls.

It's a brilliant little platformer. Some of the candles in each level are well hidden and it's satisfying to explore every nook and cranny before burning out. I can't get enough of it, and I'd definitely recommend it to any and all platformer fans!

Reviewer photo
Emily Sowden 6 April 2018
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