I think we tend to enjoy the genres we’re better at or, maybe, we just get better at them because we like them so much. Either way, that wouldn’t explain why I like so much fighting games and shoot ’em ups, I suck at them yet they entertain me. Maybe it’s just me being weird.
Prismatic Solid is an indie title that plays like a top down shoot em up in the likes of Xevious or the more recent Raiden games. You’re piloting a sci fi ship and shoot the other ships that come at you mostly from the top of the screen. Retro stuff.
There isn’t that much to say about the game. It doesn’t have any story, just pure arcadey gameplay fun.
What sets this game apart from other shooters would be its artstyle and the way they manage weapons.
Talking about the weapons first. There’s six of them and they represent the usual fire types you can find on shooters like this (homing , spread, beam…) and you can switch between them at any time but there’s one more catch with that. Your ship is always surrounded by three colored tendril-things. Those block the enemy projectiles, they grow bigger as you pick power ups and change their formation as you switch your weapons. So, picking weapons plays a bigger strategy role than in most shoot em ups since not only affects your offensive power but also your ability to defend.
Now I’ll talk about the elephant in the room, the way the game looks. You probably noticed from the screenshots that the game does have a quite strange look. The game doesn’t use any textures but plain colors to dress the objects, most enemies are just abstract shapes and the moving scenery often feels quite trippy to fly through. In one instance I felt like I was playing through the playstation 2 startup sequence.
On a technical level I never encountered any bugs and the framerate always looked stable, which I find very important specially on this genre.
As for the sound department the weapon blasts feel adequate and the game features a quite solid soundtrack. Even if it won’t be a revolution in the genre, it has some pretty catchy tracks.
Things I liked
- Weapon strategist: The way the weapons work and how they affect the shield tendrils that accompany you add that extra level of strategy that’s the spice of this game.
- Just right difficulty: The game isn’t easy, it’s far from that but it doesn’t feel like a game that was designed to empty your wallet at an arcade either. If you’re bad at shooters like me you’ll probably die plenty and will need to retry the levels often but it never feels like an unfair challenge. The game does get a lot easier the better you are at it though, the power ups really make a difference so try not to die and lose them.
- Trippy visuals: To be honest, I could see this being a polarizing topic. Some will love this artstyle and some will probably hate it. Look at the screenshots and decide for yourself. Do you like the surreal imagery on display? I personally did. Every stage looks radically different from the last one so it feels refreshing.
Things I didn’t
- Short: This is could be considered kind of a staple on the genre, shoot ’em ups tend to be quite short and prismatic solid isn’t an exception at all. There’s just 5 basic levels with an extra one and those won’t take very long unless you struggle to beat them. After that the game offers variations on the basic levels by color swapping, changing the placement of the enemies and adding some effects but they’re the same levels basically.
Who’d like this?
For the shoot ’em up enthusiasts this would be a must own. The game might be short but it’s also quite cheap (and it’s on sale on the store as of this moment) so you won’t feel ripped off by it. This might not be the greatest game in the genre but it is very solid (pun intended).
<This game is available on ps4 and other platforms>