Deflector is a top down action Roguelike set in an stylized Science Fiction world with a heavy use of a deflection mechanic as its main gimmick. Get it?…Deflector deflecting mechanics…okay I’ll stop. The combat takes a huge page out of the Battlerite playbook with its combat which is not a bad one to go with as Deflectors combat is fast paced, action packed, and flashy. Accompanied by a varied soundtrack that goes from techno neo noir tracks that make you feel like your running through a back ally in a dark city with neon signs flying by, to fast paced industrial metal complete with punchy bass, huge guitar riffs, and the subtle use of drones to add that little bit of atmosphere. Deflector is unlike anything I’ve played in the genre so far so start by taking a look at the world design and it’s strength ad weaknesses.
This game is also early access so bare that in mind, some things may change from the posting of this article.
Deflectors world is not very unique while the game does have multiple settings from neo science fiction to swamps of alien acid. Where I think the world falls flat is it just feels like I’ve seen these settings before I really think the apt comparison would be to Risk of Rain 2. However where it lacks in visual design and unique qualities the world design of Deflector is effective in communicating information while still being able to look flashy and spectacular which is hard to do for a bullet hell, losing your character in the world is something I think a sinful act bullet hells often commit.
Using Risk of Rain 2 as a example one thing I often struggle with in that game is managing targets as their is so many god damn fireballs, lasers, and annoying wisps to keep track of almost giving me a sense of sensory overload, however, in comparison Deflector handles this very well as all of the playable characters stand out from the back ground so do the bullets your trying to dodge and reflect. This is refreshing not losing my character in a sea of bullets I’m trying to break dance through harder than any 90’s Hip-Hop video. You might be asking but how does it feel to parry? I know I mentioned parry so all the souls nerds are going to come out, so lets talk about that next.
More Parry’s Than Dark Souls.
Deflector’s main mechanic is it’s deflection or parry system its literally in the name so its no surprise its the main mechanic shared across all enemy types and all of the playable characters. It’s very simple just press M2 and your character will put up a shield for a brief second parrying any bullets towards your mouse cursor. You may have noticed their are two different colors of bullet red and gold, the red bullets you can deflect while the gold bullets you cant. This leads to some interesting bullet patterns trying to find the path through swarm of projectiles while also trying to identify which bullets you can deflect to either make a new path, or maintain DPS on whatever you’re fighting. The overall combat of Deflector is a delectable exceptional spectacle with every level presenting a new challenge.
Why deflect in Deflector though? I swear I wasn’t trying to deflect the question…simply put, it keeps you alive longer which is great! No seriously though, it charges up your special move for your character activated by pressing the E button it’s like your characters ultimate. There are currently 4 playable characters all with unique tropes to fit any playstyle you want to utilize. The gameplay seen in this article for instance is of the starting character Boomerang boi there (I forgot his name). I actually think hes the most complex character in the roster at the moment requiring not only to know to deflect enemy bullets but your own boomerang as well, this creates a rhythm mini game almost its very fun a interactive and I wish we saw more unique character designs like this in other action rogulikes.
What about the runs?
When you start a run and jump inside the flying bug thing…let’s call him, coconut. So you get in coconut and you can select what path you take with a randomly generated map Slay the Spire style, with the different icons representing different challenges. Time Trials shown by the stopwatch icon on the map, kill all the enemies shown by the Metroid looking symbol on the map, while the orbs are showing that if you complete the trial on the map you can get a upgrade what’s a roguelike without wacky item effects? These levels will sometimes have augments shown by the red outline on the map when selecting the level, like the god damn laser that follows you from the sky like some god has a magnifying glass and your the ant. Some of these are more innocent like bullets spawning from a enemy corpse, your movement is slower, and many more to spice up your runs.
Well Should You Play Deflector?
In my personal opinion yes you should Deflector is a exceptional Bullet Hell Roguelike with above average combat and great overall design and is worth your time and money, priced at $14.99 on steam I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth out of the game. While personally I don’t value play time for money spent as you can get a great experience out of a short game you’ll get many hours out of Deflector as well as their are plenty of progression systems and unlocks I never showcased as I think you all should experience them for yourself. But whatever you do don’t walk into the damn laser.