Sunday, June 07, 2015

Laserball 2015

Laser Ball was originally released in 1991 by Thomas Ilg and updated in 2014 with bug fixes and larger screens. After months of tinkering and other improvements, we have the completed product - Laserball 2015.

This is a puzzler which is not only simple in nature but also furiously difficult. Each screen has a laser gun that fires a beam of light out in a straight line. In order to complete the level, the beam must be redirected onto a red ball using mirrors and other objects. The mirrors can be tilted to direct the light in different directions. These can be physically moved around the screen in all four-directions - this is continuous until blocked by an object or wall.

This is the first level where I learned a lot about when and how to move those mirrors.

It's your calculative decision making that chooses where to place these mirrors in order to align the beam of light just right so it can blast that red blob! However, doing so proves a LOT harder than you first imagine. As you progress, you'll see lots of different types of objects that can either aide or restrict your options. Closed doorways need to be activated using the beam of light before they are opened for use. Some objects cannot be moved - except by the beam of light. Some eliminate walls and others present hidden functions.

Hitting a bomb means game over but you can come back to a particular level without having to replay the previous puzzles. What's also great is the immense number of levels to wade through - I doubt I ever will... But... it's now that I disable the timer! My old brain needs to stop everything it's doing to concentrate and I hate being rushed! I don't see the point for games like this - so thank you, Thomas, for implementing the option!

A timer or not, this is level is a ticking timebomb. Look closely and you'll see what I mean!!

Visually, this is a nice looker but, let's face it, puzzlers rarely look great. How can they? Well, I think this one managed it with each screen, not only appealing to the eyes but also with a clear and concise design. Sadly, there aren't many sound effects (ahem) beyond the key clicks but the music and jingles are absolutely gorgeous.

This is a puzzler that can certainly test the brain cells and in such a way that it's not long before you're swearing like a docker. I've learnt many things about myself playing Laserball both, as a gamer and a person. Like my patience - or lack of it. The fact that I can spend so much time on a level - constantly replaying it over and over - and then utterly flabbergasted at its simple solution. A solution that I simply couldn't see at first. Infuriating!!

And now things change once again with new mechanics I couldn't grasp at first. Killer game!!

I've been quoted saying, "Probably one of the best thinking games ever released for the Atari ST" and you know what? I think that humble sentence pretty much nails it and sums up this beautiful game very nicely. Which is saying something when you consider just how many awesome puzzlers are out for the Atari ST!!

- Download Laserball for floppy & hard drive -

Check this out!!! Thank you, Thomas, for this level - it's incredible (incredibly tough!!)

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