The aim of the puzzle game Laserbreaker is to destroy a White Sphere located somewhere on the screen. You do this by controlling a cannon which can be moved horizontally across the play area, it’s turret can be angled to fire in any direction to fire lasers . The White Sphere is usually surrounded by coloured blocks; Red, Yellow, Blue or Green which can only be destroyed by your laser fire of matching colour, performed by pressing the respective coloured button on your controller.
You have limited charges of the coloured laser which vary in number on each level, so you must think ahead and plan as to which blocks should be destroyed while always keeping at least one charge of any colour for the White Sphere. Lasers do bounce off the surrounding walls and non matching blocks so you can use this to your advantage to get the laser in otherwise impossible to reach areas.
The single player mode features three game types to play. Arcade is the main attraction and features ten ‘Ages’ which each contain around five levels. At the start of each Age, a short text story explaining the creation is told which adds some flow to the game. Level designs can appear to be basic but in many cases it can be far from it, with some very tricky layouts which will have you at near controller throwing levels when you just miss the White Sphere due to a wrong firing angle.
The Arcade mode allows you to play through the game unlocking new ages, completion of which will reward you with an extra life. You get no second chances, so once you run out of lives it is game over and back to the start. I liked this idea and it goes back to the more traditional gaming style, the current trend is to allow you to restart on a previously played level which can shorten the lifespan of a game.
The second mode is called Panic which sees you essentially replaying the Arcade mode but now against a timer. You start with 99 seconds and must quickly complete each level, you gain an extra 5 seconds each time. This is a very tough mode and requires good memory and skill to quickly complete a level. Thankfully you can replay any previously complete levels in the third option ‘Practice’ which allows you to pick an Age and replay it to master the fastest method to complete it.
Score is based on speed and accuracy. Completing a level in a good time will reward you with extra score, as will doing it in as few shots as possible with a nice ‘One Shot Bonus’ for hitting the White Sphere in one shot. Total scores are saved to the leaderboard for future posterity. I would have liked to have seen a more detailed scoreboard to show times and scores for each individual level as it would have been useful to set for friends to beat or to simply see if a particular level is causing a bottleneck in your Panic mode attempts. You do however have a split screen two player mode which allows you to race for the first to finish the level, so this does make up for the lack of detailed leaderboards.
Presentation is done fairly well with easy to navigate menu systems and help on playing the game. Graphically the game fares well enough for a puzzle game. The blocks themselves are a little basic looking, but the laser effects when bouncing off surfaces is done well and livens things up. Each age has its own background from outside scenery to a monkey, shown in a blurry style effect. There are a few music tracks which are non intrusive and work well as background music and will not have you reaching for the mute button.
Laserbreaker costs 400 :MSPoints: which is the highest price that can be set for an indie game. The Arcade mode will keep you occupied for a few hours at least, the Panic mode adding some more hours to perfect. Saying that, I did feel that you do not get quite enough in terms of variety and quality compared to other games in this price range and would be better priced at the next lowest price of 240 :MSPoints:. This does not mean it is a bad game, it is far from being so, but for value for money I think it missed the target.
You can find more information as well as the trial and full versions of Laserbreaker on the Marketplace.