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Light and Mirrors Puzzle

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Simply put, this puzzle involves a room that contains a light source and a number of mirrors, and requires the player to position the mirrors in a way so that the light will bounce off them in succession and hit a target. May also happen with a laser or magic beam, or something else entirely. Additional complications can include the beam killing the player if they touch it, so the player may also need to ensure that they have safe passage through it.

The basic idea of this trope was tested by the Mythbusters, albeit in the "used to light a room" sense. While it does provide some light for the room, it isn't something that can be relied upon for being able to see through the dark. Without a stable light source, you'd have to constantly readjust the mirrors due to the changing positions of the sun. While with a stable light source it is possible to rebound the light off of several mirror, it quickly starts to weaken to the point of being unnoticeable the further it goes, requiring the mirrors be almost right up next to each other. So, while it is technically possible, it's highly improbable.


This is cousin to the Block Puzzle, and may sometimes be That One Puzzle. Compare Reflecting Laser and Sundial Waypoint.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Detective Conan, such a puzzle is the key to unlocking a mechanism that reveals a hidden treasure in the house of an ex-robber gone legit.

    Films — Animation 
  • Mune: Guardian of the Moon: Glim sets up a series of mirrors in her own room, so that the light of the morning sun would unfreeze her first, before her father who stayed downstairs (they are made of wax and turn solid with the cold of the night), so that he can't stop her going out to see the succession ceremony.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the film Legend, the heroes must reflect a beam of sunshine all the way down to the bottom of hell.
  • Batman & Robin had one of these, essentially. Using orbiting mirrors to thaw a frozen Gotham city. A scene very early in the movie had the Bat-signal reflected by several mirrors until it was visible in Bruce's study. That movie might have been ridiculous overall, but in this one case, Chekhov's Gun was clearly visible on the mantlepiece.
  • While not a puzzle, The Mummy (1999) had the group enter a large, dim tomb. Evie angles a mirror on a stand to direct the sunlight above into several other mirrors positioned around the room, illuminating the room. The MythBusters tested this. While you can light a room this way, the constantly moving sun means it won't last long, and it is nowhere near the movie's level of light.
  • A scene from Brick has Brendan using a piece of a broken mirror to reflect a beam of sunlight into a basement.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Five Doctors": The First Doctor and his granddaughter Susan are in a building with reflective walls and a Dalek. They do something that includes sneaking up behind it, dropping to the floor, and by so doing maneuvering it to fire its death beam so the beam bounces off the mirrors and hits the Dalek.
    • "Tooth and Claw" has something similar, where a badly made telescope turns out to be designed to focus moonlight in some special way and then shine it through the Koh-i-Noor, which apparently Prince Albert had cut specifically for this purpose, to zap a werewolf-alien before it kills Queen Victoria.
  • The Teen Wolf episode Party Guessed features the use of mirrors to reflect the light of the full moon (specifically March's Worm Moon) to resurrect a dead alpha werewolf. Exactly who that dead alpha werewolf is shall remain a secret, though we will grumble for days on end until the stars fall from the sky about just how much pain and suffering this resurrected alpha werewolf caused on the precious, innocent teens of Teen Wolf.
  • An episode of Bones had the team wondering how the killer could be watching them regardless of where they were in a cluttered storeroom. The solution turned out to be that the killer had set up mirrors that reflected back to a single camera in this manner. The team demonstrated this by using a laser pointer aimed at the mirrors, and watching as the beam slowly bounces between the mirrors and significantly less than the speed of light.


  • The Toa Inika in BIONICLE were able to deflect Umbra's light form using shields of ice.

    Video Games 
  • Games Consisting Entirely of this Puzzle:
    • Deflektor on the Commodore 64
    • Prism for the Nintendo DS.
    • Laser Light, a DOS game
    • Lightspeed
    • Lumen, an iOS game
    • Mirror Magic, an open source clone of Deflektor and Mindbender
    • The Flash platformer Fireboy & Watergirl 2: The Light Temple introduces this mechanic, which is carried forward into later games in the series.
    • Chromatron and Chromatron 2. These games up the ante by adding elements such as color filters, prisms and quantum entanglement.
    • Khet, also known as Laser Chess, a board game
    • Prisms of Light, a Windows game made in Game Maker
    • Laser, which takes the puzzling to eleven with beamsplitters and whatnot. Given that when two beams collide, the one who came first — or was created first in the internal code! — has the right of way, you can generate puzzles bordering on Mind Screw.
  • The Legend of Zelda features this as a recurring thematic puzzle in some games:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The Spirit Temple features puzzles of this kind for both Child and Adult Link, though since Child Link is unable to use the Mirror Shield he has to manipulate the light's direction with conventional methods (such as redirecting a traditional mirror, moving a light-sensitive block or blowing up a fragile wall). Adult Link, who can use the Mirror Shield, is able to bring light to spots where it wouldn't otherwise reach with the conventional mirrors. These puzzles return, in a lesser capacity, in the final dungeon.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: Light-based puzzles are present in both Ikana Castle and Stone Tower Temple, though the Mirror Shield appears earlier in the final room of the Gibdo's well. In the temple, the Mirror Shield can be used to store light in special mirrors and eventually redirect them onto a sun target. For added difficulty, the light is only stored in the mirror for as long as you shine light on it and won't shine until you stop, so if you're too slow you have to go back and start over again. Worse still, there's a room where some enemies appear constantly to interrupt your process, though this can be eased with the use of the Stone Mask (which makes you invincible). These puzzles are later trivialized with the collection of the Light Arrows, which are capable of activating any light-sensitive target.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: The Earth Temple sports this during the second half, with mirrors that always reflect "forward"; both you and your Escort Mission (Medli, the newly chosen Earth Sage) have reflective items (respectively, the Mirror Shield which is found here and the Rito harp that originally belonged to Zora Sage Laruto). At times you must use your shield to bounce light onto her mirror, to illuminate a third mirror which reflects light onto a series of other mirrors. The room leading to the Boss Key has a famously complex puzzle where, counting the characters' reflective items, a total of ten mirrors has to be used to illuminate a face that opens the door to the Boss Key's room.
  • The Hall of Learning area in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Another, smaller one occurs at the bottom of the Tower of Dawn.
  • Demitel's castle in Tales of Phantasia has a variant with prisms.
  • Shows up in the Tower of Mana in Tales of Symphonia.
  • This occurs throughout Woohoo Hooniversity in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. The player never gets to directly manipulate the mirrors. Instead, they align themselves as you complete the Solve the Soup Cans puzzles.
  • It appears twice in Dungeon Siege II: The first one is for the main quest, and the other is for a side quest (albeit an important one).
  • There are a couple of these in Devil May Cry 3. In a mild twist, you manipulate the light by smashing unnecessary mirrors with your sword.
  • A version of this appears in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Of course, like many aspects of that particular game, while mirrors are re focused, there is also an emphasis on platforming within the puzzle.
  • The Luminous Labyrinth in SaGa Frontier which characters must solve to obtain the gift of light magic. Uniquely, it also adds color filters into the mix. You have to hit the exit portal with a certain color of light to escape; hitting it with another color will either give you an item or start a random battle.
  • One of the safes in Safe Cracker: The Ultimate Puzzle Adventure is unlocked by setting a laser beam to a specific wavelength that can open it.
  • RuneScape has a very large and very difficult 3D one. It's difficult partly because of its construction (even including multiple colors) and partly because the "Temple of Light" is full of monsters. Specifically, monsters that have low hp, high attack, and a high spawn rate, making there no good way to deal with them. If you ignore them they keep hurting you; if you fight them they keep coming back. And even if you're immune to damage with prayer, their attacks still automatically close all menus, meaning you have to click through the menus to rotate the mirror in the second or two between each attack. On the positive side, if you enter the mirror rotation menu before you draw aggro from a Shadow, it will be unable to attack you until you exit the window. This can be utilized to allow your life points and run energy to restore.
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night: In the DS version, you often come across puzzles like this which you must solve in order to unlock a new part of the level.
  • Digital Devil Saga had a few of these in one dungeon. Somewhat justified in this case, as they occur in an amusement park and they're implied to be part of the attraction. They're also much less annoying than most, since enemies don't appear in the rooms they're in.
  • Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure: One of the Boss Battles. You sometimes need to place a mirror in the hands of the frozen rival captain as part of the sequence, so she can fill in for a broken pedestal.
  • MediEvil 2 features a vampire boss who must be defeated with mirrors, both by directing sunlight at and by reflecting his attacks back at him.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network 5, you are in a room on a ship when the lights go out and a valuable program gets stolen. No one in the room has it. The open door, the mirrors and the fact that navis can travel on infrared beams are all important to solving the mystery. Answer: It's Napalm Man or Tomahawk Man and their operators, depending on the version.
  • Mega Man X: Command Mission, on the other hand, had a more traditional puzzle version, with a bizarrely long series of rooms where you just redirected lasers all over the place. Just to make it more annoying, there was often an extra target that would trigger a battle every time you moved a mirror while the laser was pointed towards it. Furthermore, you also need to reflect each beam to a matching-colored object in each room to unlock the item crystals in the floor above, but there's no hint whatsoever you need to do this and once you do the above, there's isn't any kind of notification that you actually accomplished anything.
  • Mega Man X6 has one of these. About half of Shield Sheldon's stage is a Light and Mirrors Puzzle. Hilariously enough, over half of it is entirely unnecessary to traverse: the boss is located one-third of the way through the level. The only reason for going through the entire level is to reach the extra "bonus" stage, and get some additional equipment for X.
  • Tomb Raider: Anniversary has one of these, set in an Egyptian tomb.
  • The game (loosely) based off Disney's The Haunted Mansion has one of these in the Moon Room. The goal is to bounce a beam of light into a "moonstone" by rotating a set of mirrors. Once the light hits the stone, it lights the entire room.
  • Beyond Zork had one of these in the endgame, making this ... Older Than Graphics. Fortunately (and atypically for text adventures), there's an onscreen map, which makes working out the correct angles and orientations for mirrors a lot less painful.
  • Beyond Good & Evil has one of these it its final dungeon. The design of the room gives it a few shades of Womb Level, as well.
  • The Dig has one of these.
  • In King's Quest VII, Valanice must complete such a puzzle in the temple to get an important item: half of the "key" that opens the door to the next section.
  • The Fan Remake of King's Quest II, King's Quest II: Romancing The Stones, has a minor one of these where you have to reflect sunlight through an anti-magic gemstone.
  • Portal has a variation on this in that you must direct energy orbs into receptors that in turn open doors or power lifts etc. The orbs can be bounced off various surfaces, or teleported from one surface to another by the use of portals. The orbs can also be utilised to vaporise oneself if in an Unwinnable position, and push friendly turrets off platforms. Note that, unlike traditional beams of light, the orbs don't need a complete line-of-sight between emitter and receiver, making it a lot easier to get stuff done. They explode harmlessly after a while, though, and a new one is supplied from the emitter again.
  • Portal 2 replaces them with Thermal Discouragement Beams and Discouragement Redirection Cubes.
  • Some landscapes in the Oxyd series have these. The light however is a laser and can open passages by destroying walls. It can also destroy your marble and lose you a life if you're not careful.
  • Eternal Darkness has one of such puzzles twice: one with a diorama of a city that unlocks a door, and another with a telescope and mirrors that unlocks the path to the final boss.
  • There are a few in The Incredible Machine series.
  • Sonic Adventure used a variant on this in Lost World, where the object was simply to light your path, rather than hitting a target. In the Updated Re-release Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, this area is a little lighter. You can get through without doing the puzzle, though you can still do it anyway. Good thing too, because it's possible to get hit while you're turning the mirrors.
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force had a variant early on where rather than moving the mirrors you had to break one of them.
  • Star Wars Droidworks has two missions that play this straight. There's the "Laser-Powered Fusion Reactor" in the Phrik metal mine, which you have to fix twice in a row (although it's implied that the assassin droid hiding there sabotaged them deliberately to bait you); and later, a series of laser-and-angles puzzles are used to view the data crystals you collected from the previous missions. The mirror controls become more and more broken the farther you go.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: The Shivering Isles includes a variation with rotating statues that shoot lightning. Angle the statues properly, and the last lightning bolt will blast down a wall, revealing a secret area. It's entirely optional, however.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has this in the "Discerning the Transmundane" quest. You must orient a set of lenses to shine light on a massive dwarven sphere to gain access to an Elder Scroll, but in fact all you have to do is press the leftmost button repeatedly until the next one to the left becomes usable, and rinse and repeat until you are on the last button.
  • Three of these can be found in Vesplume Tower in Infinite Undiscovery.
  • Resident Evil games tend to prefer the Laser Hallway, but Resident Evil 4 does have one instance of this on the village's chapel. Resident Evil 5 does it again, this time several times in succession. And if you touch the beams, they KILL you.
  • Silent Hill 4: The Room features the infamous water prison puzzle, which requires rotating the circular floors of a tower on their axis so as to align four specific holes out of several possible, thus channeling the light from the roof all the way into the basement. After you do this once, you must repeat the whole procedure, this time aligning four different holes over another part of the basement. While not terribly difficult to perform, the fact that it requires improbable logic to figure it out usually leaves players stuck at this point.
  • Jade Empire features an insultingly easy light puzzle in the Great Southern Forest, involving focusing different colours of light through a lens in order to open a portal to another dimension.
  • Mass Effect 2 has one of these in a side quest that's almost harder to find than the puzzle is to solve.
  • Torin's Passage has one of these at the end of Aesthenia, though it is presented as a Light And Prisms Puzzle.
  • Some of the recent Spyro the Dragon games use these as a Solve the Soup Cans puzzle - you're even forced to collect the mirrors from around the area before starting the puzzle.
  • A minor computer game called Hyperman had one of these puzzles needed to melt a block of ice and get a key item.
  • Used a couple of times in Nancy Drew games to activate mechanisms or open doors.
  • The Robinson Crusoe segment of Azada 2 requires you to connect several spots to one another with a single laser beam.
  • Opening one of the tusks in Myst III:Exile requires you to bounce a beam of light all over the island, and also provides the combination for the door.
  • A few of the puzzles in Soul Reaver involve using mirrors to redirect beams of light, when they don't involve blocks.
  • DuckTales 2 has an extremely simple one where a mirror only needs to be dragged to the left so it reflects the beam of sunlight which breaks the floor.
  • The first dungeon in Golden Sun has a puzzle in which beams of light must be cast onto certain tiles to unlock a portal. The second game has another similar one in which you must open up holes in the ground so that beams of sunlight can hit mirrors that aim it at an extremely photosensitive boss, weakening it.
  • Avernum III has several of the laser variety in the Golem Factory and the Concealed Passage. The puzzle is generally to put the mirrors in such an alignment that the lasers won't block your path, but you can also turn the lasers back on the laser generators and destroy them all to express your true feelings for these kind of puzzles. As an aside, this is one of the few places where the game was changed significantly from the earlier Exile series, which used conveyor belts in the equivalent dungeons — these were deemed incompatible with the new engine.
  • The final puzzle of Shivers 2 involves opening up the MacGuffin talisman, an ancient Native American artifact, to find... a laser-and-mirror puzzle inside. The player can choose to avoid this puzzle, getting the second-best ending instead.
  • The final puzzle of the IF game The Erudition Chamber involves this.
  • The platform game Challenge of the Ancient Empires!, with the added twist that the light source is the bulb on your character's helmet, so the light beam must be shot from an appropriate location.
  • Oddly subverted in Dragon Quest IX, where the mirrors were already in the correct positions and the player needed only to turn on the lights (as simple as walking up to them and pressing "on", no less).
  • The Reflector in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal is normally used for these. Different from most other examples in that it incorporates a field that absorbs the beam, and an emitter that can be pointed anywhere.
  • Darkest Fear, a mobile phone game set in a hospital infested with light-fearing monsters, consists almost entirely of this.
  • Assault on Vampire Island has a variation where you need to rotate the lamp of a lighthouse.
  • Escape From St. Mary's does it, where the goal is to send the beam into a basketball player's eye.
  • Feature in the Rube Goldberg Machines you're required to build in the flash game "Electric Box". Some levels even require you to use a mirror to reflect a laser to activate a device that will destroy the mirror so the laser can activate a second device. Only laser beams can be reflected, mirrors have no effect on the light from ordinary light bulbs.
  • This is a staple of the Professor Layton series:
  • One dungeon in Tales of the Abyss has a couple of oddly half-hearted light and mirror puzzles, as if the designers of the game felt obligated to include every possible type of block puzzle but couldn't be bothered to actually make it require effort. A straighter example can be found in the use of Mieu's fireballs, which have to be reflected off things in the final dungeon and several sidequests as well.
  • The remake of Quest for Glory II has a minigame called "Force Bolt Flurry," which can be played by anybody with magical skill and knowledge of the appropriate spells. It employs Force Bolts instead of light, with the added challenge of preventing your opponent from reflecting his Force Bolts into your territory.
  • A staple of The Room games, usually involving crystals as the source of light, or as prisms.
  • Reah: Face the Unknown contains such a puzzle in a fabric shop, using mirrors and a lens to light the fire in a vat of dye. You have to do it because the only person there doesn't know how. At one point, the player character comments on the fact that he can't see himself in any of the mirrors.
  • In Strange Cases The Tarot Card Mystery, the Attic level is one of these puzzles.
  • Laser beams and mirror figure into many puzzles in Dweep.
  • One such puzzle appears at the beginning of The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble, in the shop. You must position two mirrors so that they're able to correctly deflect a light beam and hit a nose, making it visible.
  • Shows up a number of times in the Skylanders series. Sometimes you have to move other blocks out of the way, and sometimes, you need the laser to melt a block of ice so that it reveals yet another mirror.
  • The Talos Principle: Most of the puzzles in the game involve using faceted "connectors" to create beams between laser emitters and receivers to power devices or remove obstacles. Unlike typical mirror puzzles, angle is not an issue, and the main aspect of challenge comes from finding valid line of sight between all of the desired targets.
  • Weaponized in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars by using the Viper fighter and Beam Artillery in conjunction. The Viper's special ability is to call on a nearby beam cannon to shoot at it, whereupon it uses its belly-mounted mirror to bounce the laser at a target, effectively doubling its range. This can be chained to other Vipers, until you have a beam cannon or two sitting at home bouncing its lasers off an entire network of Vipers.
  • The LEGO Adaptation Game series has these in LEGO Indiana Jones and LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean. They usually function to find a specific switch or LEGO item the character needs to interact with, not necessarily light the whole room.
  • In Lord of the Rings Online, a main quest and a group instance take place in the Mirror-halls of Lumul-nar in Moria. At a few stages in each level, the player(s) must use mirrors to direct a light beam to shrivel up webbing that covers the entrance to the next chamber.
  • In the DS game Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force: Herbert's Revenge a late-game mission involves you climbing up a mountain to find Herbert the polar bear with a large magnifying glass, aiming to cause a geyser eruption. You and the other agents need to use pieces of shiny ice and redirect the magnifying glass's beams back onto its handle, burning it and causing the glass to fall down.
  • In Interland, an official Google game about online safety, Mindful Mountain consists of light-and-mirror puzzles. You are first given some information (pictures from a school trip, your best friend's phone number, etc.) that you must choose who to share with. All these people will be on the board, and you must shoot the laser so it bounces off the mirrors and hits only them. Later levels introduce "don't let the information get to anyone" challenges and purple, rotating mirrors.

  • Gabe from Penny Arcade does this in a tabletop game of Dungeons & Dragons, using a laser pointer and some 1'x1' art mirrors.
  • In Homestuck, there is a point-and-click Flash where Jane has to solve one by rotating a set of lanterns to reflect light off the mirrors on ancient obelisks to shine light into several deep pits.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of The Magic School Bus revolves around this, a game of "Light Pinball". The objective is using mirrors and prisms to split a beam of Slow Light into the colors of the rainbow and redirect them into like-coloured eyes.

    Real Life 


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