With the introduction of PSP minis, it is easier than ever to grab a quick game off the PSN for cheap, much like Apple’s App Store. Gameshastra has quickly released several PSP minis, one of them being Deflector. Though Deflector will at times challenge and entertain you with its puzzles, the experience is not as clean and polished as your average mirror.
The goal of Deflector is to deflect each color laser into its appropriate receiver using mirrors and prisms. You are on a total budget that varies within each level, and so you must think carefully where you will place each mirror and prism. Placing them is simple, using the Square button for mirrors and the Triangle button for prisms. The L and R buttons rotate the mirrors or change the colors that emanate from the prism. You can also destroy prisms and mirrors previously placed with the Circle button, and ride atop the laser at any time by tapping the X button and moving the analog stick.
However, the levels are not as simple as this makes them sound. There are assets within each level such as bombs, buildings, oil cans, trees, and nuclear waste which, if destroyed, will automatically end the level. There are also indestructible walls, breakable rocks, pits, windows, and switches that you must guide your laser through or around. With all of this to take into account, a simple puzzle mechanic becomes a thorough exercise in thought.
One issue I had with the controls is once you dropped a mirror or prism, you could not pick it back up. This becomes a problem when you are trying to set up multiple mirrors and prisms to direct the laser beams through tight areas without destroying any assets. Mess up even once in a scenario like this and you will almost certainly have to restart the level.
There are many levels within each of the game’s three difficulty modes to keep you busy. Although the game breaks down difficulty into the classic modes of Easy, Medium, and Hard, you will still run into challenging puzzles on all three difficulty levels.
Deflecting lasers to and fro makes for good fun, but the game suffers from a major flaw in presentation. While the extremely minimalist graphical representations of levels (gridded levels, green ground) and very basic sounds and background music are not dealbreakers, the sloppy translation is hard to forgive. While playing this game, it will be a common occurrence to see such lines as “Are you sure, you want to go back to main menu?”, “careful with laser”, “A mirror will cost 50 rdquo; and “out of the budget”. This may not affect the gameplay by itself, but it can be incredibly jarring to see such mangled English while you are playing. As the primary language for games in the American region, it is hard to look over a poor English translation.
Deflector, despite its faults, is a fascinating take on the puzzle genre that will keep any puzzle fan on his or her toes. The trial and error nature of placing mirrors and prisms plus a weak English localization keep the game from truly standing out, but there are certainly worse ways to spend $3.99.