Saturday, July 02, 2005

Aargon Deluxe

Title: Aargon Deluxe
Author: Twilight Games
License: commercial
Website: http://www.twilightgames.com/aargondeluxe/aargondeluxe_info.htm

Aargon Deluxe is a great puzzle game. It is the first commercial game in this blog. I set a much higher bar for commercial games than for freeware games, and this one clears the bar with plenty to spare. I hope it goes with out saying that I am not associated in any way with the author or publisher. Also, I am not getting any money or payment of any kind from endorsing their game.

The goal of each level is to pass a laser of the correct color through each of the coins. There are a variety of tools available to make this happen: mirrors, prisms, splitters, etc. In any given level, these items start on the left in the tool chest. You have to figure where to put them in the grid and with what orientation in order to get the sought after color passing through each of the coins. The initial configuration may already contain several items. You have to figure out how to get around these items or use them to your advantage. And, you can never let light (of any color) hit one of those TNT barrels.

Here is a sample starting configuration.



And here is the solution.



The key to this level is figuring out how to use the refractor, which bends light 45 degrees, to serve double duty.

The "Deluxe" version of the game comes with a total of 300 levels. There are 60 interactive tutorial levels which step-by-step explain the game and various items. Then there are 120 levels from the "original" game, broken up into four difficulty levels. Finally, there are 120 "deluxe" levels. Again, these are broken up into four difficulty levels.

The level design is top notch. Most people can skip the tutorial and start with the easy levels from the original game. The levels get progressively more difficult. Some are tricky, but usually there is an A-HA moment where you figure out the trick to solve a level. My one suggestion is to look for things which are diagonally related. As you complete levels, later ones become unlocked. However, you do not have to complete each level in order to move on to the next one. You can skip one or two toughies.

Aargon Deluxe comes with a level editor, but I was surprised that I could not find many user made levels out on the Internet. Twilight has two additional levels sets available for purchase on their website, and they have a hand full of free levels made by others. Given the popularity of the game, I expected to find a ton of levels. Maybe my google skills are not up to snuff.

There is one aspect of the game which I do not like: slimes. Slimes are these little green monsters which wonder around and eat certain items. On some levels, you need them to eat bins of radioactive waste in order to clear a path. They usually start out penned up by lasers. You have to release them and herd them towards the item you need eaten. The problem is that the rules for their movement is unclear. Twilight has a page on their website which partially explains how slimes move. However, I wish they had just never introduced them.

There are several freeware games out there which are similar to (clones of?) Aargon. None is as good or as polished. Here are three: Chromatron, Mirror Magic, and Laser. The last of these is a shockwave game which you play in your browser. To be fair, Aargon steals a bit from an old DOS game Laser Light by Pixel Painters.

1 Comments:

At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Twilight Games' Aargon is now available on the iPhone! Visit Aargon iPhone at bonfab.com.

It's the same great game with a slick new interface and new levels.

 

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