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Llamasoft's The Minotaur Project #3 - Deflex

So here we are, on the third Minotaur Project release from Llamasoft, and this one's a bit different from the other two. I can't say I've had much experience in playing puzzle games by Yak, but then again, just how many puzzle games has he released? Deflex would be the first that I've played, and I have to say this one isn't bad at all.

Way back in ye olde days of home computers, there used to be a certain subset of puzzle games that were all based on the same gameplay element: throw a ball out in play and use stationary paddles dropped around the playfield to move it around the screen and eventually guide it into a hole, or something of the sort. If any of you have played these types of games before, then  you'll know what I'm referring to. I think those games made it to every 8-bit home computer in existence, and most likely a few that weren't.

I can't say I was ever a huge fan of those types of games, but Deflex gets its charm from not being just another carbon copy game. The essential gameplay is the same. You drop stationary paddles in a playfield to help guide a ball that bounces around the screen, but instead of guiding it into a hole or goal of some sort, you use it to collect various things floating around on the playfield. Since this is a Llamasoft game, you can probably guess pretty easily that many of the objects on the playfield are random assorted fluffy animals or other various silly objects that you probably won't see in any other iOS games not made by Llamasoft.

The gameplay zips along at a decent pace, and necessarily so. Your ball acts as its own timer for completing a level, as it will gradually evaporate. This is slowed down by collecting the various objects floating around on the screen, and the "healthier" your ball is, the greater the score. In other words, your goal is not just to complete a level before your ball becomes nothing more than vapor, but to do it as quickly as possible.

Much of the game's charm comes from its abstract and silly graphics, but Mr. Minter added in a few other layers of polish. Along with the usual psychedelic graphical flairs, the audio in this game is mellow but quite sublime. Tunes play out note by note as the ball bounces off a paddle, and of course will vary in speed dependent on the level. Many other small touches like this help to elevate this game from being yet another puzzler to one that really stands out.

This is a unique puzzler that holds its own against many of the other puzzle games found on the App Store. Definitely pick this one up if you're looking for a good time-waster that keeps grabbing you back for just one more turn. Deflex is only $1.99 in the App Store, and well worth the price.


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