Review: Laser Disco Defenders (PSV)

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Extras:

  • PlayStation TV Compatible No
Title: Laser Disco Defenders
Format: PlayStation Network Download (285 MB)
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Excalibur Games
Developer: Out of Bounds Games
Original MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
Laser Disco Defenders is exclusive to PlayStation Vita.
The PlayStation Vita download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Laser Disco Defenders is a very simple game, essentially combining a twin stick shooter with one of those old moon lander games. There are also some mobile game aspects thrown in for good measure. And, of course, disco.

The twin stick shooter aspect comes from the basic control set up. One analog stick controls aiming, the other movement. However what sets this game apart is that the movement is on a side-scrolling stage and holding “up” is akin to thrusting rather than just moving. As there is gravity, this means the character will fall to the ground if the player stops holding “up”.

From one perspective, this is an interesting setup, as the player has to constantly adjust their thrusting and position while also aiming and shooting enemies. However, it led to one of my biggest complaints about the game: somehow the movement of the screens made me nauseous.

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I believe it has to do with the way the camera tries to lead the player, which made it move wildly when I was making small course adjustments. In any case, my first few rounds had me feeling a little sick. Fortunately, I found that there is an option in the menu to adjust the “screen shake amount” which alleviated some of the issue.

The goal of the game is also simple: clear out all enemies on a stage to advance to the next one. Enemies can come in a few varieties, such as laser shooters that sit on the wall, ax-wielders who rush the player, etc. The other unique gameplay aspect is that all lasers fired, including the player’s, bounce off walls. So less shooting is more, lest the player end up trying to dodge too many of their own shots.

… just repeating the same thing with the four different characters …
In typical mobile fashion, levels are randomly generated, getting harder and hard as the player progresses. Die, and it’s back to the first level. A basic mission system provides some progression out of the resets. Complete some missions and eventually, the player can unlock new equipment which gives different bonuses to their character.

That’s about it. I don’t know exactly how far the levels go, as there is a progression meter that indicates there is an ending but the game can be quite tough and I never managed to get to the end. There is an endless mode which can be unlocked, that I assume doesn’t end. But other than that, the game is just repeating the same thing with the four different characters who only differ in starting life totals and speed.

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Visuals:
Like the gameplay, the graphics are very simple but generally well suited for the style of game. Each of the four characters has a unique look and surprisingly, changing equipment does change their clothes and accessories.

There isn’t much variety in the environments. You’re just fighting through similar looking caves unless you make it far enough in to get to the slightly different caves.

… interesting ideas and a fun soundtrack but ultimately feels small …
Audio:
With Disco in the title, one might expect a disco soundtrack and the game does not disappoint. The disco inspired soundtrack is actually pretty good to play to.

I found myself quite enjoying the tunes in the game although they can get a little repetitive with subsequent plays. Still, the overall quality is acceptable for a small indie game like this.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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Conclusion:
Laser Disco Defenders has some interesting ideas and a fun soundtrack but ultimately feels small and it was unable hold my attention for long. As a little diversion to pull out on the Vita, this will get the job done. It just has the memorability of a Newgrounds Flash game circa 2006.

Score:
6.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Vita’s built in screen capture feature.

Written by Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson

A longtime PlayStation fan who enjoys JRPGs and rhythm games when he’s not tweeting about his parrot.

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