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Sunday, June 07, 2015

Laserball 2015



Put on your thinking head, Worzel

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 that 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, that beam must be redirected onto a red ball using mirrors and other objects. Use the mirrors and tilt them to redirect the light in different directions. These can be physically moved - in all four-directions - and 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.


My brain hurts!

It's your calculative thinking 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 the options open to you. For example:

Closed doorways need to be activated using the beam before they can be used.
Some objects cannot be moved - except by the beam of light.
Some eliminate walls and others present hidden functions.

Watch out for the timer. Yes, there's a timer but I didn't like that at all as I felt rushed which spoilt the game. So, I would like to personally thank Thomas for implementing a feature to disable it. Finally, try and not zap a bomb otherwise it's game over - but you can always come back to a particular level without replaying the previous screens. There is an insane number of levels to wade through - which should keep you busy for many weeks!


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


Aesthetics?

Visually, this is a nice looker but, let's face it, puzzlers rarely look jaw-dropping! How can they? Well, I think Laser Ball has actually managed it as each screen is, not only appealing in style but also with a clear and concise design.

Sadly, there aren't many sound effects (ahem) beyond the few key clicks and funny jingles... But that doesn't matter in the slightest when the chiptunes are this beautiful - thanks to the talents of xFalcon.


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


The CryptO'pinion?

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!!

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 definitely sums up this beautiful puzzler nicely. This 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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