Prism: Light the Way (DS) review
"It all starts with a kooky story, as all puzzle titles seem to all do these days. Itís one about some form of alien creature that live within black holes and eat light being starved of their resources by angrier aliens who hate them for undisclosed reasons. So itís up to another set of aliens, who shoot light beams out of their skulls, to brave the black hole and feed the undernourished first-mentioned aliens. "
It all starts with a kooky story, as all puzzle titles seem to all do these days. Itís one about some form of alien creature that live within black holes and eat light being starved of their resources by angrier aliens who hate them for undisclosed reasons. So itís up to another set of aliens, who shoot light beams out of their skulls, to brave the black hole and feed the undernourished first-mentioned aliens.
I miss the good old days when Tetris just threw falling blocks at you and told you to stack them right. No one died if you failed; you were just dumb.
In the case of Prism: Light the Way, youíre presented with a 10x10 grid littered with obstacles and tasked to provide the light emitting from the helpful Bulbiods to the hungry Glowbos. Itís never going to be as easy as just pointing the lights at the targets, and, once you try to forget about the dumb premises (which I tend to achieve via alcohol abuse), what youíre left with is a genuinely clever puzzler.
Thereís 120 stages of the main Puzzle game available to you, the first twenty or so serving as a tutorial that will ease you in to navigating the game. Level One has you simply nudge the stageís single Bulbiod two squares left to shoot its milky-white ray of goodness right into the single Glowboís face, while the second stage has you employ your first T-junction, an item that will split you initial beam in twain. Soon, other obstacles will stand between you and victory: Glowbos will come in different colours, forcing you to use special blocks to change the hue of your beam; the angles will not allow you to fire straight beams right into your target so a limited supply of mirrors need to be used to bend light around corners. By the time you come to the end of the first forty levels, the kid gloves are off, the hint system completely disabled and youíre left on your own to try and strike ahead. And itís manic: stages will throw multiple Bulbiods at you, forcing you to criss-cross beams, employ multiple junctions and mirrors within very limited space and really try to puzzle out what route needs to be taken to achieve completion.
Thatís thereís only 120 levels could conceivably sting, but some of them are plain sadistic -- enough so to have you running to online guides like the dirty, stinkiní, impatient cheat you know you secretly are. Theyíll eat away at your time soon enough as you tweak and alter set-ups to try and simultaneously feed all your intergalactic chums at once.
While Puzzle is the mode youíll most likely flock to, Prism includes the extras youíd expect and one perhaps you wouldnít. Thereís the standard Time mode, which throws a countdown on top of all your light-bending woes, as long as an Unlimited one, which throws random puzzles at you for as long as youíre happy to complete them. Of more note is the Hyper mode, which is a point-attack like game which lets random tools and Glowbos appear within the screen and tasks you to eliminate them before they vanish.
Still, itís Puzzle mode that eats at my time because I never feel like Iím less than a step away from completing the devious stage Iím stuck on. Often, I find myself needing just one more mirror to feed that blue Glowbo, or that I need to find a way to fit that downwards-facing beam into the upright feeder for the T-junction. If Iím honest, I donít much care for the plight of the Glowbos or the heroics of the Bulbiods -- what I do care about is getting one level further than I am right now. Because the stages never feel outside your comprehension, that youíve not yet beaten them is a personal affront that needs to be righted. Thereís no cheap shortcuts to be found, not corners to cut; failure and success rest completely on your little grey cells.
Itís a shame thereís only one bloody music track that loops endlessly, though. I suppose thatís what the mute function is for.
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