Breakeroids Review

Breakeroids Review

Aug 15, 2013

Asteroids was an arcade game in the time when arcade games were a thing, rather than an obsolete, and incredibly vague genre definition. It was released by Atari in the ancient time of 1979, and was such a huge hit that Atari almost scrapped all of its other projects, concentrating on meeting the ridiculous demands on Asteroids. Although the game didn’t feature any iconic characters, or locations, its success was an important part in the video game industry becoming what it is now – an industry. Additionally, this game created a shoot-em-up genre that’s presented in huge numbers on the mobiles of today. Thus, it’s still warm in the collective memory of video game fans, and there are some people who actually draw inspiration from its simple, neon-like design. There are also some people who take it and smash against another classic Atari video game for kicks, like the ones that made Breakeroids.

breakeroids 1Breakeroids is absurdly simple, yet still interesting. It’s a mash-up between Breakout and Asteroids, and that’s it. The player controls a platform at the bottom of the screen, and has to launch a ball to smash the asteroids that are flying randomly at the top. Asteroids can’t reach the platform, though it still can be destroyed by a flying saucer that comes every once in a while and shoots lasers at it. At times, some power-ups and downs fall from the top of the screen, and can be caught, or evaded by the platform.

When all of the asteroids and their chunks are destroyed, a new level is generated with some new asteroids. Breakeroids doesn’t try to surprise anyone, and only features the core gameplay of both arcade classics. The only real advancement that it has is an ability to restart the game from the latest wave, rather than from the beginning. It features same vector shapes and pre-8-bit sound design, so I’d say it has a very distinct, if unusual, style.

Minimalism of Breakeroids is both its main feature, and its primary flaw. It’s really quite repetitive, although it does trigger a trance-like peace of mind, prompting the player to play it on and on, until the end of time comes – or phone’s battery dies. It’s a ghost of the times past, and I’d only suggest picking it in the case of extreme nostalgia, or desire to see how the games were played in the age of Jimmy Carter and Margaret Thatcher. That said, Breakeroids is quite good.

Mars Defender: Space RPG Review

Mars Defender: Space RPG Review

Oct 28, 2011

Mars needs help! Well, not the planet itself, but the people who are living on it in the future, some 119 years from now. Humanity is branching out, occupying new places to live in the solar system. As you can imagine, however, not everything is peaceful and easy. As tensions rise and attacks escalate, you’ll find yourself in the midst of battle, going further into space to help keep the peace. It’s a difficult job, but it all starts with blasting space rocks.

In the beginning, you’re just a fresh recruit, learning the ropes and defending Mars from the small handful of incoming asteroids. But just because the first few levels are easy doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way. The game quickly increases in scope, offering you more difficult challenges, such as escorting freighter ships and fighting off enemy attackers. Even the simple task of clearing space debris becomes a challenge.

Between levels, you’re given a choice to pilot new ships, fight with better weapons and so forth. You’re even treated to the story as it unfolds, learning more about the conflict that’s going on and the role you play in it as fascinating events take place. However, one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is simply getting around without smacking into things.

You pilot your ship by sliding the control stick in the direction you want to go. It’s fairly easy. Want to go left, for example? Just move the stick left. The ship automatically rotates so that the thruster is pointing away from the direction you want to go. Once you’ve got that down, your fate is in the hands of Isaac Newton’s first law of motion. You know… “An object in motion tends to stay in motion,” and all that jazz. In other words, you’ll just keep on going until you either rotate your thruster in the opposite direction or you crash into something. Obviously, you’ll prefer to take the former action if you hope to do well in this game.

Of course, being in constant motion has other challenges. For one, the ship’s weapons only fire in the direction your ship is facing. Since you also fire thrusters when you shift the stick around, this makes it much harder to keep aim without changing your direction, or making tight maneuvers while bearing down on an enemy. The option to fire thrusters independently would have made a nice addition to the options menu, even if it meant adding an extra button to the user interface.

Mars Defender: Space RPG doesn’t really seem like much of an RPG, in the traditional sense. It takes on a very linear approach in favor of telling a story and limits you in terms of ship customization and character interaction. It’s just a series of levels with some choices as to which ship you prefer to use on each mission. It’s also lacking in replay value. Without any kind of arcade mode or leader boards, you’re just playing the game to get to the end. It’s a well done game, but very limited.

Asteroid 2012 Review

Asteroid 2012 Review

Aug 8, 2011

Some games take a while to get used to, but more often than not they’re all the richer for that. It’s sort of like wine. They need that time to breathe, so that they taste that little bit sweeter once everything clicks. Asteroid 2012 almost fits into that category, but it falls short in a few key areas.

The game is a simple 3D space shooter that sees you utilising the accelerometer in your phone to control a pretty decent looking spaceship. Your task is to shoot asteroids, avoid the attentions of other spaceships and generally survive in the grim darkness of the remarkably close, yet technologically superlative future.

At first, you’ll think the tilt controls just don’t work. You’ll wave your phone around and your spaceship will explode and you’ll get angry and swear and go to bed without any supper. If you persevere though, you’ll realize that the controls are far subtler than in most other titles, requiring only the slightest of movements for the desired effect.

Once that’s settled in your mind, you’ll find yourself having some fun with Asteroid 2012. It moves at a different, calmer pace than most other games, and there’s no real way of telling if you’re doing things right or wrong. Then another spaceship will turn up, kill you and you’ll get frustrated and stop playing.

Sometimes, Asteroid 2012 feels more like a tech demo than a complete game. It’s fun in small doses, but after too brief a time, it becomes a bit of a chore. There’s obviously a lot of talent and time gone into making the game, but not enough of that time has gone into making it fun. With a few tweaks and a clearer objective, Asteroid 2012 could be a very impressive little app. As it is, it’s just a little too lacking in those key areas.