Prism: Light The Way (Nintendo DS) - Review by skarma
Prism: Light the Way is most-likely an unheard of title that unfortunately got released alongside major DS sellers at the same time. Which is unfortunate as it is what I would consider a hidden gem. However, it may not look it from what your given from the get-go. A very lame story about a space monster that goes about eating light quickly sets you up for a very 8-bit like aesthetic of 5 framed jelly like blocks moving about a play field with minimal animation bar the stars falling down in every background in the game. However, don't let this put you off as Prism: Light the Way is definitely one of the most addictive puzzlers on the DS by a long shot, and that's an impressive feat considering how many puzzle titles are released for the system each month.
Being a puzzle game, there is usually one sole goal in each individual puzzle with numerous and/or different ways to solve it, so I'll try and explain this the best way I can. Essentially you control a blob on a play field (known as a 'Bulboid'), moving it about square by square. What the Bulboid does is it projects a beam of light in whatever way it is facing. On the side of the play field are 'goal' blobs - Glowbo's, these are non-movable blobs but they are vital to your success as, to complete the puzzle, you must shine the beam of light from the Bulboid into the Glow. Simple yes? Of course it is, but it sure isn't easy. Along the course of the games 120 different solo puzzle missions come varying items to help or hinder you. Mirror's for example reflect light at right angles so the light can bend around corners and shine onto Glowbo's that are positioned on the right of the playfield (assuming the Bulboid shines it's light downwards). T-Junctions can split light entering into two other directions, doubling the amount of light and making it possible to complete a puzzle with two Glowbo's. Alongside light-bending objects are colour-altering objects such as Prisms, Filter Blocks and Cycloids, which allow you to complete even more insane puzzles.
Speaking of difficulty, the first 10-15 or so puzzles ease you into the game pretty gently, with all that being needed is a couple of seconds thinking and a couple of strokes with the stylus. When you hit around the 30 mark the puzzles quickly ramp up in difficulty, 5 seconds become 5 minutes and so on. Essentially the whole game is trial and error, but it's as fast paced or as slow paced as you like it as there is no time limit to speak of in the Puzzle mode, and there is never a way so that it's impossible to complete the puzzle which is always nice. Once you start hitting around the 100 mark, you will start to realize that you actually suck at puzzle games, despite what other games have tought you. This is where the 'hint' option comes in, which isn't so much as a 'hint' as a 'Click here and we will show you the exact place where to put the blobs. Oh? That's not enough? Have another hint, and another, and another. What? No, we won't give you a penalty.' Naturally the smart thing to do is to click it once to help you out, but sometimes I've found myself using it to complete whole puzzles, which I guess wasn't the function of it. Still, a handy tool for the demon-like puzzles of old. It is however, without using hints, immensely satisfying after completing one of the really hard puzzles that has been torturing your brain for a good half-hour or so, even if 3/4 of that consisted of staring at the screen blankly thinking 'How the hell?".
As well as the main 'Puzzle' mode there is 'Timed mode, which is self explanatory, 'Hyper' mode where you have to shine light on the Glowbo's before they explode, and 'Infinite', where random levels are picked out of a hat and you just play them to your hearts content, no time limit. As well as this is a quirky co-op multiplayer aspect, which allows you and a friend to work on a puzzle together. Though there is a catch - you can only control the blobs on your half of the playing field, which I feel would have been better if you could both control everything. Alongside those modes is a nice tutorial to ease you into the action, though it isn't really necessary as you can understand the game concept just by playing the main 'Puzzle' mode, which is definitely where you'll be spending most of your time in the game.
Very intuitive, just drag a blob or item wherever you want to place it using the stylus, alternatively use the buttons by controlling a cursor, very very simple.
Screams budget, in it's own cutesy manner of course. The blobs themselves are very reminiscent of the Electroplankton, strange blobs in all sorts of colours with a cute face and happily bouncing about. Very colourful game, though the menus really shine in the budget department, no animation to really speak of but it's not really where you'll be spending most of the game. It does the job.
Again, does the job. There's about 3 or 4 music tracks in the whole game which, as catchy as they are, seem to be stuck on loop after every minute or so and might get on your nerves. Thankfully the DS comes with something we know as the volume control. Likewise with sound effects there seems to be about 5 or 6 throughout the whole game, some in-game sound effects are used for menus and what not. They aren't really annoying though but they're not exactly up there with the Kings and Queens of SFX.
The lower screen is primarily used to show the menu and (in-game) the playfield, where as the top screen is used to show a random bouncing blob as well as displaying what Level you are on, Time Limit (if there is one) etc. Some puzzles make use of both screens, doubling the enjoyment (read: difficulty), not much to complain about though, I don't see how else it could be used.
If you are a fan of thinking puzzle games then I would recommend Prism: Light the Way in a heartbeat. It is a great game with real replayability, though not much to go buy in the way of sound and graphics, not that it really matters for the type of game it is. Even if your not I would still recommend it, and considering the price tag averages around Ã‚Â£12.99 new nowadays, it's a very good budget game akin to games like Polarium and Picross. While not having production values as either, Prism will appeal to audiences of both games, and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it. A few things I would have liked to see would be downloadable puzzles and maybe creatable/tradeable puzzles.
Pro: Simple to ease into. 120+ puzzles for Ã‚Â£12.99.
Con: Sub-standard presentation. Lack of online modes.
Final score: 8.8
|Developer:||Morpheme / Gamesauce|