It's been decades since shoot 'em ups began captivating gamers and the genre is still going strong. Prismatic Solid offers a unique take on the classic formula, but is this colourful shooter solid enough to warrant a download?
Prismatic Solid is played like any other vertical shoot 'em up but with a few twists. First off, you always have an array of six main weapons to choose from. They're all equally powerful given certain circumstances which is great since you'll be a lot more successful if you constantly change your play style and adapt to each situation. It takes a while to experiment and get used to every weapon's intricacies but once you do, you'll turn into a force to be reckoned with. On top of these basic weapons, you're surrounded by three different coloured laser-like entities. These act as shields that block certain projectiles and as your special attacks. You gain power-ups with colours that correspond to each of these entities and by the push of a button you can unleash any of three burst attacks that use up some of that colour's power meter. It sounds more complicated than it is but you'll appreciate how intuitive and tight the controls are once you play it for yourself.
When it comes to graphics, Prismatic Solid boasts some awesome visual effects. Each stage is rendered with a distinct theme and it's quite impressive how cohesive and appealing they all look. You'll find yourself shooting over water that ripples as you move, above a hexagon-filled floor where each tile can pop up and end your life, through a horde of rainbow-coloured atoms, and within a shaft that you descend while battling foes. Every one of these is a joy to play within. The music is mostly generic electronic vibes that were common in late '90s arcade games while the sound effects are quite well done. Subdued sounds from your main weapon and enormous blasts when you unleash a special attack definitely make combat more satisfying. Overall, this is one great looking shmup.
Prismatic Solid is a challenging game with a difficulty level that's just right to compel you to give it another go and keep pressing on. In other words, it's not too difficult which means that any arcade shooter fan could have a good time. However, one problem that I consistently ran into was that I found it tricky to keep track of my ship through the corner of my eye. This is because it's vaguely coloured and barely stands out from the environment. When you factor in the brightly coloured entities that always surround you, it's difficult to distinguish your ship. Most shooters allow you to easily spot it so you don't accidentally crash into anything. That's simply not the case here since I crashed quite regularly due to not fully knowing where my ship was. Over time, I trained myself to constantly stare at the ship but it's certainly difficult to do so once the action starts getting hectic.
The amount of content in Prismatic Solid is rather disappointing. You only get five stages to complete along with an unlockable extra stage. After you complete a stage, you're granted access to the next one so you can start from any stage that you've already made it to. Upon completing all five of them, you'll unlock round 2 which is generally the same experience but more difficult and the environments look different. Beginning a session at round 2 and making it significantly far will make you feel like a champion as you see yourself ascend the leaderboard. In the end, once you unlock everything (which doesn't take long) and get a score that you're satisfied with then you'll probably shut off Prismatic Solid and maybe pick it up down the road from time to time.
Prismatic Solid is a visually stunning and fun shoot 'em up that won't disappoint fans of the genre. However, with a slim amount of content and one nagging issue; you might want to think twice before jumping in.
- + Challenging classic shoot 'em up gameplay with interesting mechanics and tight controls
- + Awesome visual effects and themed stages
- + Fine-tuned weapon and power-up systems
- - Keeping track of the ship is tricky thus causing many seemingly unfair collisions
- - Very little amount of content with only one mode consisting of six stages