Cathode Rays is a Unity-based game by Christoffer Hedborg that could be best described a puzzling avoidance game. Or, it could be described as a LAAAAAAZERRR SPAAAAYCE BAAAATTTLLLLLE!!! Of course, if it is the latter, it's a very colorful laser space battle. (WIIIIITHH COOOOLLOOORRRRRRR!!!) In either case, it takes a steady hand and some quick thinking to pass these tests with flying colors. (COOOOLLOOOOOokay, enough of that.)
Each level features a series of light-emitting planks that always rotate to face your mouse's position. When you hover over the hollow starting triangle, the planks spring to life, and you'll have those titular cathode rays in your hands. Your goal is to weave your way through the other planks to the glowing target triangle. The trick is that as you move, the cathode rays can't touch planks that aren't their own color. One false move, and *pop*, you've got to go back to the start to pick up a new set of rays. The good news is that when a ray crosses a matching-colored plank, the plank absorbs the ray, meaning you have a little more slack in your movement (until your mouse can reconnect with the ray).
Analysis: Cathode Rays starts out simply enough (with only one ray to handle), but the difficulty quickly ramps up as you're required to thread the rays through tight passages and time your movements to match moving and fading planks. Soon you'll be trying to manage four beams at once in sparkly vector glory. While it might seem like a straight-up avoidance game, Cathode Rays both encourages and rewards thought and planning. The layout of each stage is carefully planned and rarely feels like you'll need to flail about and cross your fingers.
While it sounds like some sort of formula for the perfect rage-quit, the lenient approach to letting you restart merely by moving your mouse back over the starting triangle goes a long way towards keeping things from being frustrating. It's still a very simple game, however, and the slow pace it demands isn't going to be for everyone. The colourful 80's arcade-style visuals and electronic soundtrack are nice (apart from the frenetic jittering), but they almost feel out of place with the gameplay, as if they would be better suited to light-bike races or saber battles. Still, the game is simple and beautiful and just the sort of thing to get you psyched up for the weekend, even if you may walk away with a strange urge to dig out your neon green leg warmers and FRANKIE SAY RELAX t-shirt after playing.