Attacking and dodging is an important part of the roguelite formula, especially for the Souls-like genre. Deflector adds the importance of deflecting attacks to gain an advantage over enemies. While it doesn’t look like a large change on the surface, deflection is polished enough to become a tool in your arsenal. Offense and defense become crucial to your survival, and it adds another layer of strategy.
Other than adding deflection, there’s nothing special about the game other than its story and setting. It’s another roguelite that requires good reflexes and understanding enemy movements. Deflector lets you unlock different characters to test different playstyles, but it doesn’t stand out from the crowd. It’s still fun to play and seeing your characters develop is always interesting.
Deflector is available on PC for USD 19.99.
Story – Fighting a Virus
The premise of Deflector is that you are exterminating viruses that have infected a system. You take on the titular character, who is briefed on the mission and sent out into the field. You battle against enemies and visit different areas to fight the viruses. As you get stronger, you progress into the deeper parts of each area, fighting stronger enemies. If you perish, you are revived as another “experiment” and gain experience.
The story isn’t deep, and it’s just there to motivate you to continue. There isn’t an overarching plot and you just fight enemies in different areas. As you complete areas, the story progresses, but it’s nothing epic or unique. Side quests are present in a sense, but you must keep track of them mentally.
As long as you are motivated to fight enemies and progress through levels, the story has done its job. The key draw is the gameplay, which ties in with the story objective and constant revival.
Gameplay – Getting Stronger Overtime
Just like other roguelites such as Have a Nice Death, Deflector has randomly generated levels where you progress and fight enemies. Each region you explore has a set name, but the obstacles and enemy amounts are random. As you progress deeper into the region, the areas gain stronger enemies and dangerous obstacles.
Unlike other roguelites, you choose how you progress through a region. A map is laid out, letting you pick the areas that suit your needs. Do you need a healing rest stop? Or perhaps a chance to boost your skills? Maybe you prefer going to a shop to buy upgrades? The choice is yours, and it gives you control over your progression. If you struggle with an enemy wave, you aren’t doomed to fight more enemies. You can rest, recover, and upgrade yourself before going back in.
Even if you do fall in battle, you gain experience which unlocks new abilities for your ability pool. You see these abilities as you level up and use them to turn the tide against tougher enemies. It’s typical roguelite play, but there are two aspects that stand out. The first is the ability to deflect projectiles, while the second is choosing other characters.
Deflection – Another Layer of Strategy
Deflector quickly becomes a bullet hell, not unlike Thy Creature. You have the ability to dodge attacks, and will use it frequently. But you are also able to deflect projectiles, and use an enemy’s attack against them. It doesn’t look remarkable on the surface, but there’s significant depth to deflection in the game.
Deflection protects you from enemy projectiles, and also deals damage if an enemy is hit by a deflected projectile. For ranged characters, it’s also possible to deflect your own attack when it returns. This allows you to keep up an enemy assault, and try new abilities that strengthen deflected attacks.
Learning to deflect is simple, but getting the timing takes experience. Enemies will have various projectiles, and you must spend time learning if and when attacks are deflected. Sometimes it’s better to dodge if you can’t get an advantage. Other times, you build your character for deflection and it’s time to turn an enemy’s attacks against them. You might also consider something in the middle: deflection for protection and deflecting your own attacks.
There’s great attention to detail with deflection, which makes its use fun. Rather than something you use sparingly, it becomes a tool you can wield against powerful enemies. Even if you only use it to protect yourself, it’s something you can do instead of dodging.
Characters – Choose Your Own Playstyle
When you begin Deflector, you only have access to the titular boomerang-wielding character. You learn how to deflect attacks and explore their effects, but it’s not a playstyle for everyone. Fortunately, the game knows this and adds new characters known as Bioshells.
Bioshells change your character’s appearance but also grant new playstyles. Rather than a ranged approach, some Bioshells specialise in close combat. It adds some variety to gameplay and allows players to choose an approach they like. Rather than constantly being a ranged fighter, they can become a melee fighter. There are several Bioshells and plenty of opportunities to see which Bioshell is right for you. This also lets you switch tactics if you believe some Bioshells would work against different enemies. It’s great creativity and prevents the game from getting repetitive too quickly, thanks to the Bioshells’ unique playstyles.
The only disadvantage is that Bioshells are unlocked as you play. It helps you hone your fundamentals, but each Bioshell plays differently, and their actions aren’t always the same. Even deflecting attacks is different, which changes the strategy you adopt. While it helps keep things fresh, it does feel like having all Bioshells available would allow players to choose what they want.
Audio & Visuals – Top Down 3D Visuals
Deflector is played from the top down, but it’s entirely 3D. Each region you explore has different terrain and layouts, which make a difference in combat. Some obstacles appear after some time has passed, while others change the environment directly. These changes are clearly seen and indicated, helping you adapt while you play.
Combat sounds great, thanks to the futuristic soundtrack that plays in the background. Whether you are exploring the general hub or diving into a new area, the music keeps you energized. Rather than being quiet, the music helps immerse you in the game, giving you a better experience.
Deflector was reviewed on Steam with a code provided by Super Good Games.