The disco era may be long gone but its influence is far from over. Laser Disco Defenders puts you in the hover boots of four funky band members who all shoot lasers from their fingers so get ready to let your freak flag fly.
First of all, I unashamedly love disco. From Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes to Cerrone and Chic to The O'Jays, you have to dig that get-up-and-dance vibe. So, when I saw that a game was coming out based on the genre, I jumped at the opportunity to play it. You play as one of four disco superstars to traverse randomly generated levels in order to eventually thwart Lord Monotone's sinister plan of filling the galaxy with his awful music. As you play, you'll delight in the instrumental new age disco house soundtrack which will keep you tapping your toes as you both shoot and avoid lasers. Overall, I must say that Laser Disco Defenders accomplishes its '70s science fiction disco theme quite well and it makes playing this goofy game all the more enjoyable.
You control your disco space hero by using the left stick to fly around and the right to aim while tapping a shoulder button to shoot. It's simple but two factors make it more complicated than you'd expect. First, you automatically fall due to gravity so you have to constantly move your character with caution. The other complexity is Laser Disco Defenders' defining feature which is that every laser that either you or an enemy shoots permanently stays in the stage as it bounces off walls. Therefore, you want to use as little shots as possible to take out enemy forces efficiently so the stage doesn't fill up with hazardous lasers. This added layer of strategy makes gameplay much more interesting than your average twin stick shooter and I hope to see more games with this cool mechanic down the road.
As you play, you complete challenges that are randomly assigned to unlock additional costume pieces. This equipment can change your strategy drastically as they grant your character new abilities such as an enhanced aiming reticle, varying shot types, and boots that help you deal with gravity. Playing around with these pieces to craft the ultimate costume is quite fun. Besides this feature, there isn't really much to do. You basically play through the same campaign over and over again until you eventually reach the end. Once you do, you unlock Endless Mode which is nifty but even that just boils down to more of the same. It could definitely use more modes.
Speaking of lack of variety, you mainly only explore two environments which are the Crystal Cave and the Dance Den. Both of these are quite boring to look at with generic features and simple colour schemes although the Dance Den includes floors that can hurt you when they turn red which keeps you on your toes and adds an additional need for strategy. Either way you look at it, these environments become repetitive very fast so playing through the same mode again and again is even more tedious than you'd think.
My only other complaint is that I experienced some major glitches occasionally. At one point, I made it far into the journey but then brushed up against a wall only to see my character get trapped behind the stage's boundary and I couldn't escape no matter how hard I tried. Lasers sometimes get trapped, too, but that's a good thing, I guess...
Laser Disco Defenders is an enjoyable game yet it suffers from bland environments and repetitive gameplay. That being said, dodging lasers while blasting away enemies is great fun for the short while that it lasts.
- + Persistent laser mechanic makes gameplay unique as it adds a layer of strategy
- + Cool disco theme is well handled
- + Experimenting with costumes is fun
- - Gameplay has little variation as you basically play the same thing over and over
- - Dull environments get repetitive fast
- - A few occasional yet severe glitches