Jump and teleport through a sprawling world of illuminated puzzles in this visually striking platformer

From The Little Engine that Could to The Mighty Toaster, machines and appliances sometime face just as many challenges as we sentient humans. Challenges like, y’know, turning on lights in a room. In 1000 Amps, a cute little electrical plug is not only tasked with brightening up his dark environs, but he also joins the ranks of other mechanical doo-dads and household gadgets that have been recruited to save the day. Luckily for you, Plug’s journey through a black-and-white not-world of light-up squares and musical sound effects is an engaging trek full of far-flinging leaps and ever-changing puzzles.

Plug, our sprightly, light bulb-like hero, must re-illuminate the large Amp Tree System, which has been darkened by a mysterious and maleficent intruder. Plug hops (via arrow keys) and teleports (via mouse click) through a 2D, side-scrolling world of connected rooms. (Think the compartmentalized dungeons in games like Metroid.) Each room’s filled with invisible squares that form the room’s confines. Plug must simply touch the invisible squares to make them appear. Some squares are called nodes, which are powerful squares that shine brightly. The more nodes Plug activates, the higher he can jump. Activate all the nodes to light up the room and clear the area. Rinse and repeat in other rooms.

As Plug progresses on his quest, he’ll encounter rooms with different obstacles, like conveyor belts that send him to and fro. The puzzles of how to access the various nodes scattered about a given room increase in variety and difficulty, which keep 1000 Amps feeling fresh.

Another plus: The simple, but striking, presentation. Like many indie games nowadays, 1000 Amps throws back to the awesomely 2D days of yore, and even evokes images of ’80s arcade classics with its more-or-less wire figures on top of a black background.

1000 Amps

However, while gameplay is relatively straightforward and simple, (with a direct objective and a brief, seamlessly woven-in tutorial that’s over in seconds), some of the obstacles and some of the layouts deal the player a bit of a learning curve. Hopping around aimlessly to reveal the squares that outline the room can feel awkward at times. Additionally, if you leave a room before activating all the nodes, you must start from scratch upon reentry. This can sometimes be frustrating, as it’s easy to bounce out of a room unintentionally (especially as Plug’s jumping gets more juiced up from uncovering nodes), forcing you to reactivate nodes and again uncover squares needlessly.

1000 Amps is a stylish, expansive game that relies on its attractive, high-contrast visuals, as well as the opportunities it gives the player for exploration. One must wonder: When you leave your house, do the light bulbs pull a Toy Story, spring to life with adorable button eyes, and bounce about your place trying to make it less dark? No one knows for sure, but this puzzle-platformer delivers the same cute scenario in a package that promises hours of play for gamers.