Disco, Lasers, and Fashion are not words that normally coexist in the world of video games. There are plenty of rhythm and fashion games, but never games that blend disco, fashion, and Bullet Hell mechanics. Out of Bounds is an indie developer that aims to change that with their newest game Laser Disco Defenders.
Laser Disco Defenders is a Bullet Hell mixed with a Twin-Stick Shooter and Rogue-Lite game that puts you in the role of The Laser Disco Defenders. The Laser Disco Defenders are on a quest to defeat the evil Lord Monotone and prevent him from using the Mirror Moon to force the entire galaxy to dance to his own tune. It is up to the Laser Disco Defenders to prevent that from happening and make sure the galaxy is free to enjoy the disco and music they choose.
There are four different characters to choose from, each with their own unique abilities and skill sets. To make things even more complex and customizable, Laser Disco Defenders also has outfits and clothing items that can change your characters’ capabilities. Each of Laser Disco Defenders’ environments is procedurally generated, meaning no two sessions of gameplay will be the same.
Laser Disco Defenders is unique among Rogue-Lite games in that it is considered (by the developers) a “Self-Inflicted Bullet Hell.” The reason for this is that the bullets your characters (and other enemies) shoot do not disappear over time. This causes you to have to be cautious and make sure you don’t move into the path of a ricocheting bullet, causing you to take damage.
This unique twist on Classic Bullet Hell gameplay gives Laser Disco Defenders an extra bit of depth that makes the end of a run less about large amounts of enemies, and more about being careful where you shoot and how you move. There is also a mission-based progression system, though it is somewhat inconsistent in difficulty. By completing various goals (such as completing a certain number of “caves” or levels without taking damage) you can unlock outfits that can give you passive bonuses and change how your character shoots, moves, and acts.
It is obvious that the 70s and the era of disco have influenced Laser Disco Defenders greatly. The music of the game is very 70s, while the visuals are a mix of the 70’s style and cartoonish visuals seen with the animation of Steven Universe. This combination of the 70’s theme with a unique art style seems to make up for the fact that Laser Disco Defenders doesn’t have much substance to it beyond what you see at first glance.
Despite saying that, Laser Disco Defenders is addictive and fun, even if the gameplay is simplistic yet frustrating. It is important to note here that you will die numerous times during your journey through this game. Just because the game has a simplistic set of mechanics doesn’t mean it is easy or simple by any means. I did find myself somewhat disappointed though with the characters and limited outfits. The characters themselves don’t really have much to set them apart besides a different look and different health and speed values. There are only three pieces of fashion wear for each body part. Three headpieces, three torsos, three pants, and three shoes.
Even with its issues. Laser Disco Defenders is a funky good time. It might not be a game you play longer than a few days, but it brings new concepts to the Rogue-Lite and Bullet Hell Genres. The soundtrack, overall premise, and art style are very interesting and the gamepad support is very smooth. I would recommend Laser Disco Defenders to anyone who likes Twin-Stick Shooters or Bullet Hell games despite the flaws it has.
A PC Review Code for Laser Disco Defenders was provided by Excalibur Games for the purpose of this review