Prism: Light the Way

Greg Schardein  
 
7.4
 
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Prism: Light the Way

Videogames

Publisher
Developer
Genre
Release Date
October 07, 2007
MSRP $
29.99
Players

If there is one genre that Nintendo has paved the way for in this current generation of handhelds and consoles, it’s puzzle games. With the unprecedented control schemes of both the DS and the Wii, Nintendo has succeeded in providing the perfect platforms for puzzling perfection. And though the Wii hasn’t seen many puzzlers to date, the genre thrives on the DS. From Meteos to Picross DS, puzzling has hit a new level of functionality on Nintendo’s household handheld.

One of the latest puzzle games to hit the DS last holiday season is Prism: Light the Way. In this game, players must manipulate light using various light bending components (including mirrors, splitters, filters, and prisms) in order to reach the desired destinations. This unique take on puzzling provides yet another solid title from Secret Stash Games, and another strong puzzler on the DS.

As with any puzzle game, Prism: Light the Way doesn’t waste its time in trying to create a detailed story. All puzzle gamers such as myself want from a puzzle game is addicting gameplay (and maybe some polish here or there). So, if you’re expecting an epic tale of creatures fighting to save the universe’s supply of light, you’re looking for the wrong type of game. But if you’re looking for a solid puzzle game that could keep you playing for a substantial amount of time, Prism is right up your alley.

Shedding Light on Gameplay

As with many well polished puzzlers, Prism: Light the Way features several different modes of play, four single player modes and a few multiplayer to be exact. Single player modes include puzzle, time, hyper, and infinite. Each is a different take on the overall gameplay design providing a varied experience throughout your gameplay. Though puzzle is probably the most appealing and the deepest mode of the 4, the other 3 give the game some variation.

Puzzle mode is just as you would imagine it. Players must move several different components around an area in order to bend light to its desired destinations. Mirrors bend light at a 90 degree angle while splitters turn one beam into two (in a T shape). Light must also be directed through filters in order to change the color and through prisms to project multiple colors. The goal is to have light of a certain color reach a glowbo of the same color. Once all of the glowbos receive their desired light at the same time, the mission is completed.

Levels in puzzle mode are divided by tier. Each tier has 8 different levels and 6 out of the 8 levels must be finished before moving on to the next tier. Time is unlimited and as the levels get more difficult, you may be spending much more time than you would expect. As one would expect, the difficult does ramp up in the later levels and with up to 120 different levels to finish, you have a lot of puzzling on your hands.

Time mode is basically the exact same as puzzle mode except that you are timed throughout your session and the set of levels you play is random each time. The clock begins at 30 seconds and counts down until you run out of time. However, you can increase your time by finishing levels quickly (the levels at the beginning are very easy to complete but they get progressively harder as you play). There are checkpoints at each interval of 10 levels and once you reach one, you can begin at that checkpoint any time you fail (with the initial time you had when you reached the checkpoint). You are also rewarded medals for the amount of time you rack up at each checkpoint though they really serve no purpose other than making you feel like a light warrior.

Time mode is basically the exact same as puzzle mode except that you are timed throughout your session and the set of levels you play is random each time. The clock begins at 30 seconds and counts down until you run out of time. However, you can increase your time by finishing levels quickly (the levels at the beginning are very easy to complete but they get progressively harder as you play). There are checkpoints at each interval of 10 levels and once you reach one, you can begin at that checkpoint any time you fail (with the initial time you had when you reached the checkpoint). You are also rewarded medals for the amount of time you rack up at each checkpoint though they really serve no purpose other than making you feel like a light warrior.

Hyper is probably the most unique variation of the initial puzzle mode. In hyper, players must channel light to glowbos before they explode. At the beginning, players are given two mirrors and a light source and only a small number of glowbos appear at a time. However, as the mode progresses, players will be provided with more and more components such as splitters and filters to make the process much more difficult. Also, the rate of glowbo appearance increases as you progress through the mode. Each time a glowbo explodes, you lose a life and you’re only provided with 5 (though you can gain more as you progress through the game). Players are also provided with 3 bombs that clear the screen entirely in case you get yourself in too much of a bind. All in all, hyper mode is a hectic take on the game’s puzzle mode and quite an enjoyable one at that.

Infinite mode is exactly what you would expect: you play through until you get sick of playing and losing is impossible (aside from giving up on a puzzle that is too difficult to solve). Players are scored by how many glowbos they save and how many pieces they don’t use on each level. This is probably the least appealing mode of the game because there is really nothing that drives you to keep building your score.

There are also a few multplayer modes added into the game including a co-op mode and a versus mode, both of which are via single card download play (perfect for sharing the game with your friends). The co-op mode is actually quite innovative as it forces both players to solve individual parts of a large puzzle, allowing each player to only move the individual components on his/her respective screen. As for versus, players must race to finish a level before the other. Each level that accounts for a point and the first to reach the set number of rounds wins. All in all, the multiplayer experience in Prism is a very solid addition to the game that can add extra hours of depth.

Blinded By the Light (or deafened)

Though the game is quite enjoyable in terms of gameplay, other factors have lowered the overall score in my eyes. For instance, the first thing I noticed when I turned on the game was the music, or lack thereof. This game features only two musical tracks, neither of which are very enjoyable. The first song loops through the title screen, menus, and even the puzzle and endless modes. The song is a bit relaxing for the first 2 minutes but rather than grow on you, it taunts you with its dismal repetition. The other track, which plays during the Time and Hyper modes is a little bit more upbeat but just as musically dry. Though bad music doesn’t usually break a game, it tends to keep a good game from being great in my opinion and that is the case with the music in Prism.

As for the visuals, they are much more suitable than the music, featuring glossy menus, cute little anime-like characters, and a bare bones, yet effective in-game art style. Though the visuals didn’t wow me, they were exactly what I would expect from a puzzle game (polished and non-intrusive). If not for the poor musical score, the overall presentation is quite polished.

A Light Summary

Prism: Light the way sheds some new light on the world of puzzling with its light bending puzzles and fans of the genre should be very pleased with this title. With game modes ranging from slow puzzling to hectic action-based puzzling, this game’s got a mix of it all. Did I mention that the multiplayer is also very solid and includes two different modes via download play? Despite the dismal musical soundtrack, this title should be perfect for any puzzle aficionado. Recommended. 

 

Editor review

Prism: Light the Way is a welcomed addition to any puzzle gamer's library. Featuring simplistic yet effective gameplay and tons of levels to be had, this game fits in exactly with any great puzzler.

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