Deflector (PlayStation Minis) Review—Beam Me Up

GameShastra is really cranking out the minis at the moment, having released six so far including this latest effort, Deflector. The object of the game is to deflect the laser beam(s) to the same colored receiver using only mirrors and prisms. What makes this even more difficult is the fact that you have to buy these items, with mirrors costing $50 each, and prisms costing $100. Because you only have a certain budget for the level, essentially your use of either item is severely restricted.

You control a tiny little scientist man and use him to place the mirrors and prisms. Use the analog stick or directional buttons to move him, or press X when he’s standing on a laser beam to have him grind along it like he’s Tony Hawks! I like that bit! Use Square to place a mirror and rotate it with L and R. Once you’re satisfied with the position of the mirror, press square again to lock the mirror in place.

To place a prism, press Triangle once, then use L and R to change the color of the output beam. When you have the color you want, press Triangle again to lock the prism. If you want to get rid of a mirror or prism, stand on it and press O, but bear in mind that you will have already paid for the item to be placed so you’ll be wasting money if you destroy too many. Note that you can’t put a prism and mirror on top of each other.

Just to make things even more difficult, there are objects placed on the grid-like surface, such as bombs, oil cans, trees, and nuclear waste. If any laser beam hits just one of them, it’s game over. Further along in the game, things get even more complicated, with the introduction of yet more obstacles, such as throw switches that are only activated by certain colors of the laser beam, and windows that only lasers can pass through.

There are three difficulty levels, Easy, Medium and Hard, but I actually managed to get stuck on level 8 even on the so-called Easy level, so I’d say either the gameplay is pretty challenging. The higher up the levels you go, the more lasers you have to deal with, and the more obstacles you have to avoid.

If it sounds a little complicated, what with all the mirrors and prisms and all, don’t let that put you off as once you start playing it’s very clear what you have to do, which is essentially give the laser(s) a clear shot at the receiver by careful placement of mirrors and prisms, and you’ll soon pick up the flow of the gameplay.

It has to be said that in terms of visual presentation, Deflector is incredibly basic and really so uninspiring that you assume it’s going to be a real let down to play as well as to look at, and yet the actual gameplay is pretty enjoyable. You really do have to put a lot of thought into where to place the mirrors and prisms, especially as resources are so scarce. It certainly made me think and held my attention.

That said, would it have killed them to change things up just a little bit from time to time?! The background, music, everything aside from the lasers and obstacles always stays the same, level after level, meaning that the game lives or dies on its core gameplay, which is fine for a day or so, but after a while with no high scores table or any sort of incentive to progress further, you don’t feel like you’re really achieving anything.

Also, you would have though GameShastra could have made a little more effort in perfecting some aspects of the presentation. As with several of their games, the text descriptions are poorly written. It’s not a huge deal, but it makes it look a little like they haven’t bothered, which I’m sure isn’t the case.

A difficult one to assess, this. It is definitely fun to play for a while, but is it worth £3.49? Probably not. It’s an adequate puzzler, but should really be half the price as there’s not really enough variety in the gameplay or presentation to hold your attention for more than a week or so. I like it, but I don’t exactly love it.

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