Laser Disco Defenders has taken a simple concept and executed it flawlessly. It’s a 2D twin-stick shooter where you are tasked with clearing a level of all enemies to proceed. Sounds basic enough, but Laser Disco Defenders has a unique twist. Every laser beam you fire stays on the stage, ricocheting around causing damage to enemies and yourself. It’s an insanely addictive and challenging game that will have you coming back for one more go, and even after playing it for a straight week, I’m still yet to complete the final level in story mode.
The story is simple, and delightfully musical. As one of the four Laser Disco Defenders, its your job to reach the evil Monotone in his lair and prevent him from corrupting the galaxy with his terribly (you guessed it) monotonous music. Story mode see’s you battling his minions through fifteen randomly generated levels and culminates in a showdown with Monotone himself. Players can choose from one of four disco defenders to achieve this, with each character being quicker, albeit more fragile than the one before it. It’s the classic tradeoff between speed and durability that provides a variety of difficulty, as this game offers no continues. Losing all your health will result in game-over and a prompt return to stage one.
When I first loaded up the game, I had no idea that the lasers would stay on-screen. An enemy appeared and I frantically hammered R2 to fill the screen with death, which immediately backfired in my face as I spent the next couple of minutes trying to dodge the laser hell I had inflicted upon myself and died. After about an hour I was placing my shots as accurately as possible, dancing around the inevitable beams filling the screen, and managed to make it to around level six, only to die again and find myself whisked back to the character select screen. Although I died often, it was always a result of not watching where I was going, or panicking and firing wildly into the arena, and as such, starting over was never much of a chore. As I played through I unlocked several costume options by completing certain goals, which offered changes such as a shotgun-style laser spread and a targeting reticule for even more accurate shot placements.
The game visuals are very colourful and cartoonish, and the animations on the sprites are extremely basic, which is a blessing as you don’t want to be distracted by cool characters when you are desperately trying to stay alive. The fifteen stages in story mode are split into three distinct styles and the randomly generated nature of each stage means that each run feels different. The neon lasers stand out nicely against these backdrops, as they ricochet into the enemies. As expected, the whole game is set to a suitably disco soundtrack, and each shot sounds like it was ripped right out a cheesy seventies sci-fi flick, which is a nice touch and fits the theme of the game perfectly.
Although Laser Disco Defenders is an extremely solid game, it could use a few touch-up in places. The randomness of the levels is one area that could use a little structure. Starting the game in some instances would have the first stage populated by one or two enemies, while other starts would see the first stage filled to the brim with bad-guys and mines. The game also offers four expendable power-ups that vary from being extremely helpful items, such as the dark-matter vortex that sucks all lasers from around the character, to a slow-motion ability that would often hinder my progress rather than help. Upon first glance of the four characters available, I assumed this would be a multi-player affair and was slightly disappointed to find that it was strictly single player. But these are minor quibbles to an otherwise stellar game.
Overall, Laser Disco Defenders has all the makings of a classic. Its frantic and challenging, yet simple enough for anybody to pick up and enjoy. Completing the story will unlock ‘endless’ mode which will allow players to blast their way through infinite stages, and online leaderboards are available to see who is the king or queen of disco defence. Most importantly, this game is priced extremely fairly and gamers with a PS Vita will find a copy for that platform bundled in with the PS4 purchase. A highly enjoyable arcade-style romp through the disco-verse that I can easily recommend to all ages.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - /10
Graphics - /10
Sound - /10
Replay Value - /10
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