Day 199: Laser Logic

Posted: 2011/05/27 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #199, and today’s game is “Laser Logic”.

I was entranced with Laser Chess as a kid, a game published in basic in Compute! magazine that readers would type in and play. This game isn’t Laser Chess, but it is a puzzle game where you manipulate lasers and that makes it OK in my book. In Laser Chess you seek to extend lasers to every empty spot on the grid, and the gameplay is fantastic.

First, from the developer (Stephen M Bennett):

“A test of deduction and perseverance: engineer the grid’s clues to leave no section devoid of laser beams. Once you’ve become a master of the board, challenge your friends in VERSUS mode, or challenge yourself with an endless supply of generated puzzles.”

The numbered squares indicate how many laser sections are left to extend. Teleporters (represented by coloured lines) transport lasers to the corresponding colour (exiting exactly opposite to the direction they entered from). The game has four grid sizes, with puzzles getting larger as you progress through the game, ultimately taking place on a 12×12 grid. On larger grids not all teleporters need to be used to solve the puzzle, which actually makes it harder rather than easier. A help function shows possible moves, at the expense of your energy level. Solving puzzles replenishes your energy level. However, be wary with the help function: it will show you possible moves, but should there be something blocking that move from progressing it won’t warn you which acts as an interesting game balancer.

The game has 32 levels, but provides randomly generated puzzles beyond that for potentially unlimited play value. Once you’ve finished with singleplayer, a versus multiplayer mode for up to four players (where each player struggles to solve the puzzle first) adds still more value. Each time you make a correct move in multiplayer you get more energy, each misstep removes energy, and the one with the most energy at the end wins.

A game whose mechanics are simple enough to understand, but with a tremendous number of possible permutations, this game offers both very streamlined controls and extremely challenging gameplay, and not every game can say that. This is a no-brainer at 80 Microsoft Points for anyone with even a passing interest in this kind of puzzle game.

Click here to download, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.

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