Xbox Review | Deflector

Xbox Review | Deflector

“Dodge, attack, and deflect – these are the only commands that cemented themselves into my brain during my time playing Deflector. “

Viruses are everywhere in our world and there are many types of them. In Deflector, there is no difference in this fact, but what we do have is the ability to save the world from this humungous danger that threatens various locations. You must hack and slash your way through deadly viruses, fight the bosses who lead them, and progress towards ridding the world of their existence. Of course, it’s not as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. There will be tough enemies which will challenge your survivability and a range of possible enhancements that could make all the difference. The route you take in each area is also entirely in your hands, making life easier or harder for yourself with useful rewards waiting if you emerge successfully. Developed by Arrowfist Games and published by RedDeerGames, Deflector is a wonderfully designed rogue-lite experience with numerous possibilities which will make each playthrough different. If you find what works for you, who knows – you might just kill the viruses for good.

ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series S | Review code provided by PR/publisher. This review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on X!

DeveloperArrowfist Games

Your lasers are no match for my swift movements and deadly attacks!

Things I liked!

  • Different bioshells | Bioshells are the class of character you get to play. There are six to choose from but you don’t have instant access to these – they’ll need to be unlocked. All have unique abilities depending on your preferred playstyle so it’s worth giving them all a chance; each has its strengths and weaknesses. They also have special mutations to enhance each class should you come across them on your travels. Proficiency can be unlocked once you’ve completed the game once but in all honesty, I haven’t managed a single full successful run yet, so I can’t mention much more on this. There are plenty of ways to make your bioshell stronger and more survivable which I’m sure will eventually make playthroughs that much easier so it’s always worth seeing what you can achieve.
  • Upgrades and enhancements | Deflector should be praised for its versatility of different mutations, evolutions and attribute points which can be earned through each playthrough. I say that as these are reset each time you die (with the exception of permanent and equipped upgrades). Mutations have elemental properties that can also affect them and make them even deadlier. Attributes are all about what you want to build into – whether you want to increase your attack, deflect, or health stats. It should be noted that some mutations effects are increased based on your attribute points so it’s worth some careful consideration when choosing your upgrades. These are pivotal to your success and survivability; it’s always worth trying to make the most of what you’re dealt.
  • Rogue-lite experience | Deflector does act as a hack-and-slash rogue-lite title. The playthroughs are not designed to be easy and will take multiple attempts to complete, with four realms to conquer one after another. If you should be unsuccessful, you’ll be sent back to the main hub with any resources you managed to collect along your perilous journey to obtain upgrades for future playthroughs, making future runs fractionally easier the more you obtain. As rogue-lite games go, I liked Deflector and although I’m not good at this sub-genre, hack and slash are immensely fun; the mixture is always amazing which kept me coming back for more. In addition, with an achievement list that screams ‘Play me again!’, the replayability value of Deflector is fantastic.
  • Choose your path | Through every realm, you are given numerous nodes and paths you can take and it’s entirely up to you which one you take. As the nodes vary as to what reward or resource they hold (health stations, mutations, and cells to name a few) it’s highly dependent on what you want to get out of your run as to which direction you will follow. When I realised I was pretty bad at the game, I embarked on getting as many cells as possible so I could obtain upgrades to help me on future runs. Sometimes, you are forced to follow a specific route which might not have what you’re looking for but most of the time, they’re useful in one way or another. The freedom to pick and choose your route can have a huge impact on your current run or long-term upgrades.
  • Sharp visuals | Bright neon colouring, sharp movement, and crisp finishes to everything in sight? Sign. Me. Up. The overall visual quality of Deflector is astounding. The colouring is impossible to miss and was probably the first element I noticed when playing. It makes everything stand out and it isn’t too overbearing on the eyes because of the balance of colour and darker tones. It gives off an electric energy which just elevates the game to another level. As for the detail in the environment, it’s charming and brings the active gameplay and artistic side together to create exactly what Deflector should be. It’s fluent in all its details, connecting even the interface and menu selection to the visual art style.
  • Incredible audio | One element essential for fast-paced and action-packed games is music which matches it and does so effortlessly. In Deflector, the music certainly packs a punch and it manages to give you that feeling of intense and impactful gameplay. Although all the music was well suited to the different zones found throughout the game, I did enjoy particular areas more than others due to their specific music. In the main hub, the music is upbeat but far calmer compared to the hostile areas, which allowed me to calm down after my many energetic (and unsuccessful) runs. The sound effects from the melee, enemy projectiles, and dashing mechanic sound smooth and pleasing on the ears. I wouldn’t say they are anything special but they get the job done.
  • Different modes | Along with the main campaign/story mode, there are also two other modes included within Deflector – Survival Chamber and Virus Strains. Both are somewhat self-explanatory but to give you a better idea of what both are, I’ll elaborate. The survival chamber allows you to test your survivability by fighting off hordes of enemies while protecting the centre of the arena from mines. On the other hand, Virus Strains is playing the campaign at an increased difficulty should you crave a challenge. Both are required to be played for completionists. I like the inclusion of these two modes to increase the replayability of the game and I also found the survival chamber a much more relaxed experience to play if I needed a break from the main game.

Hollow Hive – One of the four areas you must conquer. Choose your path wisely for mutations, purchase, and cell extraction opportunities.

Neither good nor bad

  • Repetitive combat | Dodge, attack, and deflect – these are the only commands that cemented themselves into my brain during my time playing Deflector. Even by including different bioshells, I still found myself repeating the same moves. Thankfully, the enemies are what save the combat from being too tedious, as due to their variations, you have to manoeuvre yourself in different ways to avoid being damaged and get in range to attack them. The combat element in Deflector is what the title implies – the ability to deflect damage back to your enemies while also being able to initiate your own attacks. Honestly, I’m not sure how this could have been altered to be less repetitive but I just know it was always the same three words repeating themselves throughout my gameplay experience.
  • Boss fights | The sheer difficulty spikes for some of the bosses in Deflector were astounding. When comparing one sector to another, it was always a no-brainer for me to complete the easier one first and build myself up to take on the more challenging ones because that’s common sense right? Get more mutations and upgrades to better your chances. The sectors aren’t shown in difficulty order though which I think would have been beneficial information for players to have. I did like how the game had two different bosses for each sector – the Great Virus (mid-boss) and the Apex Virus (end boss) for you to overcome as it split up the gameplay nicely. Learning the attack patterns and weaknesses of these is pivotal to getting past them in one piece but it doesn’t take too long to recognise when you should be cautious and when is the best time to strike. 

Those yellow projectiles are my worst enemy. You can’t deflect but you can dodge them.

Things I disliked!

  • Bugged levels | One issue I did run into on numerous occasions was being unable to progress through a level because although enemies remained, they had failed to spawn. Originally, I started to restart my playthrough and then with the help of someone else who played the game, I just backed out to the main menu and managed to resume my run. It should be noted that this fix didn’t always work but that is still beside the point; this problem shouldn’t have been present in the first place. Having levels be impossible to complete, forcing any reset, is never a good sign. Is it ‘game-breaking’? Not quite. However, bugs like this can cause distress and a bad taste in many players’ mouths – including myself.
  • Difficulty | Deflector is not for the faint-hearted and will take time and dedication if you are to successfully beat the game and complete everything on the achievement list. Although not as difficult as some other rogue-lite games, there is still a noticeable spike throughout the levels that tends to come in the form of the Great Virus which poses a huge threat to your chances of survival. I think these highly fluctuate in difficulty, with me always being able to complete one virus with little to no issue, but struggling more with the others. There is no actual difficulty level in Deflector but rather a standard ‘hard’ mode enabled at all times with the idea that when you die, you have to start your run from scratch. Maybe I’m just poorly skilled in games such as Deflector but I found myself becoming quite deflated and burnt out after failing to beat more than one boss in a run numerous times. It’ll test your combat, survivability, and coordination so be prepared for a fight!
  • Missing multiplayer | I’m quite shocked that no multiplayer has been included in Deflector with it being such an obvious candidate to include more than one player, having multiple bioshells available to choose from. I guess it would make it much easier to complete the game, even in virus strain mode, but I would have enjoyed this much more if I could have had the option to play with someone else. Maybe just two-player so you’re not too powerful? I’m not quite sure but having the option of multiplayer in some way shape or form I think could have pulled more people into playing Deflector.

How long did I play the game before publishing? Around 10 Hours
How long to beat the story? Highly dependent on skill; anywhere between 5+ Hours
How many Achievements did I earn before publishing? 17/77 OR 180/1000G
How long to achieve 1000G | Approximately 50-60 Hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Army of Ruin, Dead Cells, Vampire Survivors, Hades



Although I’m admittedly terrible at the game, Deflector contains plenty of challenging gameplay and varying factors that make each playthrough that much different. The visuals and audio do the game justice, while the gameplay itself can leave a little more to be desired. As with many rogue-lite titles, the difficulty could be what makes this game something you’d either consider playing or avoid. It’s got plenty going for it and does deserve recognition for how wonderful it looks and plays.