Block the Laser

Limiting myself to Xbox Live Indie Games might not been the smartest move. One of my favorite genres is puzzle games but they fit in on consoles about as well as my kindergarten crayon drawings would have at the Musée du Louvre. Today’s square peg going into my round hole.. you heard me.. is Block the Laser. It’s a logic based puzzler where you play as a small robot trying to walk out the exit of fifty different rooms. Along the way, you’ll have to avoid lasers, hit buttons, and position mirrors.  It sounds very dry, but it’s actually a lot of fun.

The concept works well. It plays like a 2-D version of the mirror puzzles from Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Only here, objects cannot be moved, only manipulated. The learning curve is near-flawless, with each new element being slowly introduced throughout the opening fifteen levels at just the right intervals. The challenge doesn’t really gather steam until you’re thirty levels in, at which point you’ll be well served to stand back and study the layout before making any moves. The average gamer can expect about two to three hours of playtime here and the final puzzles are difficult but not overwhelming.

The only flaw is the control design. First off, I recommend using the D-Pad, preferably the silver one with the more traditional pad if you have that as an option. If not, it’s marked down to $50 now and is worth every penny. Even then, it might at some times not help much. You move the robot one square at a time, but the spaces he can move aren’t always clearly defined and sometimes it will result in death. I also had slight issues with manipulating the mirrors, thinking they would rotate one way and instead accidentally pushing them in the wrong direction and getting my robotic flaps zapped off.

I really did enjoy Block the Laser. Two minor design flaws can’t change the fact that this is a clever and original puzzler that I never got bored with. Thus, it should come as no surprise that I advise gamers to completely and utterly avoid buying this XBLIG title. I firmly stand by opinion that games like this belong on portable devices. The guys behind Block the Laser seem to agree with that because it’s also available in the iTunes store at the same price point as it’s Xbox cousin. And that’s the one to get. It’s $1 and it works. Which by my count puts it $99,999,999,999 ahead of Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative program.

Block the Laser was developed by John D’India and Joseph Christman

80 Microsoft Points had fricken laser beams attached to their foreheads in the making of this review. 

About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

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