Apr 25, 2012
Despite the hype on fast, high-definition graphics in games, there are a select few who prefer simple, minimalist interfaces when killing time with their smart phones. With too many games in Google Play, it’s hard to find that one game that suits a minimalist gamer. Enter Neon Blaster – a futuristic arcade game inspired by the 80’s Atari creation, Arkanoid. With its Tron-esque graphics and retro appeal, this game is a gem among a huge pile of stones.
The objective of the game is to prevent the ball from falling by catching it with the paddle and hitting the bricks. When a brick or group of bricks get hit, they disappear. When all bricks are cleared, the player moves on to the next round.
The game has two modes: Campaign and Arcade. Campaign is a series of levels with different brick patterns – when bricks are cleared in one level, the player moves on to the next. Arcade mode allows for endless game play, with new bricks added as other bricks disappear. In any mode, special balls appear from the bricks that, when catched, changes the abilities of the paddle. A fire ball transforms the ball into fire and hits more bricks than usual; a shooter ball installs a rifle-like structure in both sides of the paddle, enabling it to shoot the bricks above. There are also a few balls that should not be catched, such as the skull ball that “kills” the paddle and ends the game, or the shrink ball that makes the paddle smaller.
The game force-closed a few times when I first tried it, but killing some apps and disconnecting from the Internet seemed to fix that problem. This may not be an issue with the game, but with my device. When I got the game working again, it worked absolutely fine. The game controls only compose of sliding the paddle left and right using a blank space below. It works responsively enough, but a player might sometimes hit the Menu key accidentally if he slides too far down the screen. This causes the game to pause, which can be really annoying.
The graphics, on the other hand, are a delight to play in. Clutter-free and sleek with its glowing edges, the elements seem to hypnotize and stimulate at the same time – if that makes sense at all. Given the simplicity of the interface, the player can focus more on keeping the paddle in the right position at the right time and avoiding any unwanted killer balls while keeping the main ball afloat.
The sound effects are also very subtle and does not really distract from the game, in fact it does a great job of highlighting the action on screen and translating it to sound effects. However, if one finds the sounds abrasive, it can be turned off on the game’s Settings page.
Another thing I liked about this game is that it’s ad-free. No annoying ads popping up anywhere on the screen. There’s also no option to share one’s scores on social networks so that’s one unnecessary and often unused feature off the list.
To sum it up, Neon Blaster is a minimalist, retro arcade game with nice graphics and a fairly smooth interface. It may not be for everyone, but for people who were fans of the original Arkanoid game, this game is a great way to relive that experience.