IGN Review of Prism: Light the Way
You know, it's hard to find an original puzzle game nowadays. Puzzle Quest? It's just a gussied up Bejeweled. Puzzle Kombat? Obviously a clone of Super Puzzle Fighter. Snood? Ha, that's clearly Bust-a-Move in an uglier skin. And now we get Prism: Light the Way from Secret Stash Games. The core concept is essentially those "refract the beams of light" challenges in games like Spyro the Dragon or Final Fantasy XII. But hey, at least there hasn't been a stand-alone version of the game for a handheld yet. And it's actually a pretty challenging series of puzzles...just endure the almost condescending set of about two dozen training levels and you're golden.
Prism has an odd and, admittedly stupid and pointless "aliens need light" universe featuring Glowbos and Bulboids, the good Ogg and the evil Bhobail. Does it need it? No. Who cares, you're just shifting light around. Just ignore the dumb story and move on.
The idea is to cast the proper color light at the critter on the edges of the playfield. By manipulating the light casting aliens, light refracting mirrors and color creating cubes and prisms, you'll need to figure out how to ignite all the aliens along the perimeter of the puzzle at the exact same time. Lightbeams can be skewed at 90 degrees by moving an angled mirror in its path, and the light can be duplicated with a mirror that cuts the light and sends the beam in two different directions. Color's created by sending the beam of light into a prism's white side, where the other three sides cast red, yellow, and blue lights.
The game's main hook: nothing can be rotated. Only slid around. If you can only send light through the right side of a prism, then you're going to have to manipulate a beam's direction to get it to shoot through that side of the prism. Same thing with mirrors: their angles are permanently set. Though this idea has been done before, Prism: Light the Way changes things up enough that makes it a bit more original, just like Puzzle Quest's RPG element making it far more than a mere Bejeweled clone.
Prism does take a few minutes to get into, but that's mainly attributed to the poor decision of creating stupidly easy puzzles for the first two dozen challenges. Yes, it's nice that the team wanted to wean the players into the different puzzle mechanics of Prism, but come on
20 of the 120 levels are nothing but filler puzzles that require a simple shift of one or two items to solve. When you're new to a game and you're doing very little to succeed in the first twenty minutes of play, it makes you question whether you chose the right game. Luckily after about the first two dozen puzzles, the game picks up in challenge and finally starts to come into its own.
On top of the core single player puzzle, the designers included a few other options to spice things up. The infinite mode is almost like Prism's version of the Tetris "Marathon" mode, but it's not nearly as addictive. What is addictive is the game's Hyper mode where you have to use the light-casting mechanics to constantly remove aliens with light beams, mirrors, and prisms with almost a rapid-fire pace. And then there's the multiplayer cooperative mode that uses both screens as a single display, so you'll have to send beams of light to the other player's touch screen in order to beat certain challenges.
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