Laser Disco Defenders is vibrant, colorful and provides a type of masochistic pleasure only caused by a barrage lasers to the face. With perpetually ricocheting beams to dodge and avoid, players must maintain accuracy, speed, and awareness to survive their self-inflicted bullet hell.
Players traverse the mine-filled and laser-turret-infested caves of space grooving to funky fresh disco tunes. With four playable characters, customizable upgrades, and various power-ups, players can try many different combinations to reach new records in the story mode. If flying around caverns and shooting lasers at various moving targets seemed underwhelming, every laser the player fires continuously bounces off the walls. To reach further levels, players must not only survive an assault of projectiles from enemies, but also from themselves.
The game successfully creates fun to play, hectic, and exciting gameplay. As the game progresses it becomes increasingly challenging and manic, with more unique robot enemies and more projectiles to avoid. Players must decide on what “outfits” to equip, each having unique benefits to different play-styles. While one could could choose to spray-and-pray with a faster shooting laser, others may find being deliberate with their slower shooting laser is more manageable. As players shoot their way through the game, they add the game’s bullet hell experience. Laser Disco Defenders also has a high replay value. Although the progression of caves remains the same, the levels are randomly generated and unique. Different combinations of outfits and characters with varying attributes keeps the gameplay fresh.
Players advance their characters in the game through completing challenges, like reaching milestone scores or surviving levels without taking damage. Unlocking new gear and achieving new high scores provides a satisfying feeling of progression in the game, as well as adding to the gameplay. Extra unlockable cutscenes are also available, expanding the story and context to the player’s space adventure.
The colorful aesthetic of the game allows for the lasers and characters to pop and stand out. This, coupled with the groovy soundtrack that changes theme for each section of the game, creates a pleasant audio-visual experience. Even while playing through the levels repeatedly, the ‘70s disco style soundtrack fails to sound overplayed or obnoxious.
While the game, overall, is smooth and plays well, controlling your character through the caves can feel slippery at times. However, control over the character is accurate to direction input for the most part. Laser Disco Defender also supports external controller input as well, for those more accustomed to flying in space caverns with a gamepad. There were a few rare instances, when firing many lasers at a time, that some failed to ricochet and disappeared. In its entirety, the gameplay experience is well thought out and smooth. Level difficulty was also inconsistent at times, as each stage was randomly generated. Each playthrough had varying levels of difficulty.
Unfortunately, there were no alternate game modes besides the story mode and endless mode to play. Additional game modes or custom level building would have added even more to the game’s experience.
Laser Disco Defenders provides a fun and exciting bullet hell experience that does not become repetitive or redundant. With fast, hectic gameplay set to a colorful backdrop and disco soundtrack, long playing sessions are invigorating and enjoyable.
- Colorful, pleasant audio-visual experience
- Smooth gameplay that evolves as the player progress
- Lacks alternative game modes
- Level difficulty is inconsistent
Reviewed on: PC; Publisher: Excalibur Games; Developer: Out Of Bounds; Players: Single player; Released: October 6, 2016; ESRB: Everyone; MSRP: $9.99; Official Site