Laserbrain challenges the player to think in a circular space, combining timing, accuracy and problem solving to complete the challenges. Three game modes challenge the player on three different major strategies and all are needed in every mode. However, the focus is drifted to one side providing a completely different experience all around.
What We Think:
Picture the CPU from Tron taking on the task of designing potential security systems to protect the all-too-vulnerable exhaust port on the first Death Star. Put down the slingshot and dust off the old protractor: Core defense just got real.
Great shot, kid! That was one in a million!
Your task is the same in each stage, regardless of what game mode you select. There are rogue AI cores that must be eliminated. Each will defend itself to the best of its ability, throwing up barriers, defense nodes and the like in an attempt to keep you out. You can select one of your four cores to attack with, and line up your shot using the mouse, clicking to unleash your fury. Time your shot to line up with the openings to bring the core down with a satisfying blast.
It’s On Like Tron
Adventure mode brings you before the all-knowing Master Core, who has programmed you to do his bidding. Your mission is to track down the various rogue hives that have split off from the matrix, and take them offline. To do this, you’ll need to assault the various AI cores affiliated with each of the rebel factions.
As one might anticipate, the enemy isn’t going down without a fight. Each of the cores sets up a defense grid to thwart your efforts. Rotating walls will deflect your shots, and taking too long to line up a strike on an assault node will result in a debilitating EMP surge that will temporarily take one of your weapons off the grid.
By switching between your four assault nodes, you can manipulate the play field by firing blasts of primary hues. Many targets are color-specific, awarding extra points for using the correct weapon, and penalizing volleys from any other. Slow down the course of barrier walls by attacking their generators, or disable defense nodes, and eventually you’ll have a crack in the defense grid. Time your shot perfectly, because it may be a while before they all line up again.
Don’t feel like taking part in an epic quest? Laserbrain also offers Puzzle and Challenge modes. In Puzzle mode, instead of contending with a constantly revolving field of barriers, you’ll have a host of switches to contend with. Plan ahead, because there’s nothing worse than having an ill-placed shot undo a perfectly usable attack vantage. Challenge Mode will call your sense of timing onto the mat. Each shot will demand pinpoint accuracy.
They’ve Hacked All of Our Internets!
Laserbrain is a solid title, boasting revolving worlds that can get downright trippy. The music, while nothing transcendent, manages to conjure up the standard “jacking in” feel, and thus, it accompanies the experience well. There isn’t anything overly original about the subject matter, but it manages to set up the themes behind the game well enough.
At some times it may seem as though there is little to this game other than firing off a lucky kill shot after unloading a barrage of particle blasts at anything that moves. While it is indeed possible to Leroy Jenkins to victory, the subtle approach will serve you far better if you are patient enough to seek out Laserbrain’s nuances. Though the game provides a brief tutorial, it doesn’t drop the fourth wall long enough to make sure you’re getting the concept, opting to explain the rules of the game world using the terminology of the game world itself, or through the protestations of the foes you encounter. For a game such as this, it isn’t necessary to hold the player’s hand, but some more specific guidance at the outset would have been appreciated.
While it is more of a puzzler than an adventure game, Laserbrain is easy to pick up, and difficult to master. Fortunately, it offers plenty of content for any gamer seeking either extreme.