September 3, 2013 3:01 AM | Paul Hack
In the Ludum Dare competition entry exposure, developer zillix compactly creates an alien world complete with its own history and cultures. The people of light (Sol) and those of darkness (Nyx) are embroiled in a war of ideology that has escalated to violence. Only the ancient metagolem will settle things, one way or the other.
You are a visitor wandering the scorched desert, collecting orbs and scaling ruined megaliths, harnessing and hiding from the transformative light of the ever-present Sol. The desert is dotted with huts, trees, ruins, and the recently slain bodies of Nyx invaders. You can talk with the Sol locals, some of whom will help you achieve your nebulous objective.
The developer cites Proteus, Journey, and Shadow of the Colossus as inspirations, and like those games, exposure does not hold your hand. Figuring out the mechanics and goals is part of the experience. There are a number of elements--black orbs and white orbs, carved stone ruins, and a colossus called the metagolem--and it's up to you to discover how they all fit together.
You can carry one thing at a time, and sunlight (Sol-light) will change any item you hold after a cumulative 10 seconds of exposure. Trees and structures provide shade, but there are places where you'll have to make your own.
Though there are puzzles to solve, the heart of this game is exploration and atmosphere. The world feels lived-in and full of tantalizing mysteries. The game immerses you in its reality with beautiful, low-res graphics and a unique visual perspective. It's presented in pseudo 3-D and the terrain only scrolls when you walk a certain distance away from (or toward) the "camera".
There are three possible endings that depend on how many and what kind of orbs you use, once you figure out how to use them. One of the endings is "bad", but the other two are well worth achieving.
exposure is playable in a browser. For the best experience, play the post-compo version. If you want, you can still play the competition version. If you get stuck or frustrated, the developer has written up some hints, as well as a complete walkthrough.