While jetpacks are the futuristic invention people traditionally desire, my choice has always been a laser cannon... for entirely peaceful purposes, of course. I mean, they just have so many uses around the house: hedge-trimming, apple-coring, and causing the cartoonish demise of annoying critters. It is the latter that Laser Cannon 2, the new physics puzzler from Max Derevyagin and team (formerly of Sigma Studios), focuses on. A shade sadistic in concept? Perhaps, but if the creatures didn't want to be laser-blasted, then they shouldn't look so much like Furbies.
Played best with a combination of mouse and keyboard inputs, in each level of Laser Cannon 2 you must shoot, squash, fry, or destroy each of the monsters using the titular cannon. Move the cannon into position with [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, then aim with the mouse then click launch a blast. The laser blasts can do quite a few things: they can fry critters directly, slice through chains, explode barrels, knock out force-field power-plants, bounce off of metallic surfaces, or splinter the support beams of an unstable structure. Should your cannon have enough juice, you can hold the mouse button down for two seconds for a charged shot that's great for destroying walls. Firing upon an energy icon will refill your power gauge. There are 30 levels to play, but you'll have to pick and choose your shots to get a three star ranking on all of them.
Laser Cannon 2 is simple, satisfying and fun. None of the levels will be too taxing on the old noggin', but the game's sense of humor sets it apart from the more technical entries in the physics genre. While it did seem each level was designed with only a single "right" solution in mind (causing the strange situation that firing fewer shots than what the developer expected ultimately penalized your score), said solutions are designed well and it was wonderful to see each plan come together. There are a few concerns: the music quickly became repetitive, I would have preferred it that the qualifications for each star ranking were explicitly stated, and the whole thing was over way too quickly. Still, the pros outweigh the cons for a charged-up little time-waster.