Rayland 2 is an isometric puzzle game where lasers need to be guided across various square, or mostly square, shaped levels. I didn’t play the first Rayland, but I am assuming that the developers haven’t suddenly abandoned a deep and complex narrative in a game that is built using mainly cubes.
Who is placing these lasers? Why do they need to be directed to these specific spots? These are the questions that don’t have any answers and simply by thinking about them, I have wasted my, and now by extension your, valuable time.
Moving beyond that conundrum, the gameplay is rather straightforward. There are blocks that send out lasers, and blocks that have a target on one side where the laser needs to hit. Each level has a set amount of cubes that take in and redirect the laser. These can be rotated and placed freely anywhere on the map.
The mechanics do get expanded as the levels progress. Different colored lasers are introduced, as well as temporary barriers that only get deactivated once a specific laser makes it to its destination.
But beyond that, Rayland 2 remains a rather simple puzzle game. There are 50 levels to play through, and the first 30-40 of them are rather simple. The most difficult levels are those that run two lasers of the same color, moving to two different destinations. Mainly because it isn’t always apparent which laser has to go to which block. That being said, restarting the level and starting with a fresh slate was usually enough to get things back on track.
Oddly enough, some of the obstacles used in the game actually make things easier.
For example, some levels feature tunnel-like structures that lasers have to pass through. The reason this makes the game easier is that it shows you one of the required directions you must direct the lasers. The same goes for the barriers. If one is in the way, you know which colored laser shouldn’t be directed down that path, as well as how one of the lasers must be directed.
The additional colored lasers seem like they would introduce more of a challenge, but it also seemed like the opposite was true. Multiple colored lasers can intersect and the different colors actually make it easier to keep track of what’s happening on screen.
The last 10 levels of Rayland 2 are actually fairly challenging, though. They aren’t too difficult that they become frustrating, but they take more effort to get through than the first 80 percent of the game.
However, the lack of gameplay variety and the ease of the majority of the puzzles really limit Rayland 2’s appeal. By the time I was in the final levels of the game, I had pretty much exhausted the amount of fun I could have in rotating blocks and directing lasers. Which seems odd to say because directing lasers in real life sounds incredibly fun.
If you want a good challenge, I can’t say Rayland 2 is completely devoid of one, but it’s a slow payoff that isn’t very rewarding. The entire game is just a couple of hours long, and it frankly would’ve been more enjoyable if it was shorter.
Not because it would’ve been over sooner, but because if the challenge would’ve ramped up faster than I probably would’ve been more engaged as I finished the game. The other solution would’ve been to incorporate more interesting challenges, or some additional experimentation with the level design.
Since the levels share the same aesthetic and overall shape, they just blend together as the game goes on. Even something as simple as changing the color palette of the actual level could’ve helped to break things apart a bit more.
However, there is one demographic that Rayland 2 will strongly appeal to, and that would be achievement hunters. Not only can you get a 100% Gamerscore collection in less than an hour, but Rayland 2 gives you a helping of some 2000 Gamerscore.
The only possible explanation I can think of for this is that Rayland 2 is technically a bundle for both an Xbox and PC copy. Which is strange because other Xbox games that are listed as a PC or Xbox version will often just have separate achievement lists. Whatever the reason for it, I won’t complain.
What’s even weirder though is that you don’t even need to finish the game to get the 100%, you just need to play through level 42. Decide to stick with it though, and you can expect to beat all 50 levels in one to two hours. Potentially faster depending on how invested you are in the game, or if you decide to look up a tutorial online.
Replayability is completely absent from Rayland 2. There is no reason to revisit a puzzle after the game is over, since the solution will be virtually the same for every level. There might be some variation in the final solutions, but certainly not enough to merit replaying through the game.
It’s hard to make a case for Rayland 2 being your first choice when it comes to buying a new puzzle game. However, if you want to kill an hour or two, and you need an extra 2000 Gamerscore in the bank, then it’s certainly an option.