Thursday, June 4, 2009


Don't be afraid!! Come towards the light

Prismatic is a wonderfully presented and thought provoking puzzler. Granted those thoughts are always of the "Which way is the light going to flow" variety, but the game is quite enjoyable.

Developed by a
team of 5 over the course of 2 years, Prismatic is now available on the XBOX marketplace for 400 points. You can download a trial to your XBOX, or a trial for your PC. Prismatic on the PC costs 10 dollars for the full version.

The game begins with a humorous introduction to the princess who is living happily ever after. We are also introduced to the villian of this tale. Since I now consider story elements to be a required feature of my puzzle games, I am thankful that Prismatic has some. Or at least one, in the beginning of the game. I'm currently on level 40 of a 100 level game and haven't encountered anymore story sequences. The one I did watch at the beginning was very well done however.

The clearing of a floor seemed like a good place to add to the story, sadly all we get for doing this is a faery telling us through one dialogue box that we have unlocked a bonus round. I expect there to be a good story sequence at the end though.

The sound effects and music fit the game perfectly. You might find yourself easily entranced by them, spending hours with this game. The main theme is a delightful rendition of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite". Whenever an orb is smashed we are treated to a delightful sound of breaking glass, with each successive orb break increasing the pitch of the sound emitted.

If you are a fan of Orbyx or Peggle, you know the kind of auditory delight I'm talking about. Unfortunately in Prismatic, the pitch only increases to a certain amount. At which point every orb smashed emits the same sound. To be fair, this only happens on some of the levels, and when a lot of orbs need to be smashed. We begged and pleaded with the developer to increase the number of pitch changes, but alas, we were told it was not possible. Still, the audio is quite pleasant.

The graphics are quite nice too.

On my television, the game downloaded from the marketplace displays a double border around the main game screen. As shown in the screenshot. The version I like to play (review version downloaded from creators club website) only has a single border, with an increased main game screen. I think someone mentioned during the review process that the game looked squished on their television. And then the second border was added.

The game is broken up into 10 floors, each with ten rooms. Every floor has a different background so there's some visual variety to the game. Each room is darkened by the orbs when you first enter them, and your task is to guide the light from the faeries mirror through each orb, smashing them, and lighting up the room in the process. Great Fun!

I had some "issues" with the difficulty of the puzzles. Some were indeed tough, but that's not what I mean. I could find myself halfway through a floor and come across a room that takes me a good twenty minutes to clear. And then the next few rooms would be solved almost instantly. It's not really a problem, I just found it a bit strange. I suppose a rigorous placement of levels based on difficulty would require a lot more playtesters who were dedicated to filling out level difficulty surveys. Maybe for their next game?

If you do find yourself stuck on a certain level, you have the option of playing a bonus round to get some magic faery dust which you can use to reveal the spot in a room where a mirror is supposed to be placed. This dust can come in very handy. Using it affects your score however.

There is a high score table in Prismatic, but it appears to only keep track of your scores on the bonus rounds. There appear to be some timed bonus rounds, so if you're into that type of thing go for it!

The bonus rounds are randomly generated and I found them to be pretty easy. I haven't tried all of them yet though. The main game levels are hand generated. Most of them are able to be solved in multiple ways as well. Occasionally I found myself completing a level with some mirrors to spare. I was just a little annoyed that I didn't get any bonus points for doing this :}

Very few options in this game, a slider for music volume and a checkbox for guide beam. I am a deep fan of simplicity, so this I like.

The guide beam tells you where the light is going to flow before you actually open the curtain on the faeries mirror. I would recommend playing with the guide beam turned off. I found the game much more stimulating and enjoyable after I did so.

The video below can probably explain the gameplay a bit more, if you are still wondering what type of game Prismatic is.

Relax, its good for your health.


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