Aces 3D Brick Breaker Review

Aces 3D Brick Breaker Review

Sep 19, 2012

For the uninitiated, it may take a while to understand: Brick Breaker is a way of life. The original game cut its teeth in boardrooms around the world as a stock staple on modern BlackBerry devices, and has spawned a loyal following of paddle-sliding, brick-smashing aficionados world-wide.

There have since been many iterations on different platforms, but Aces 3D Brick Breaker from Concrete Software is one that I found is worth a second look. Or two. Or twelve.

The concept is mostly the same. I use a paddle to direct a ball to break bricks, while also preventing the ball from getting past the paddle. However, the Concrete Software version does the unthinkable; it creates a realistic 3D environment. In one scene, I was in what looked like a construction foundation with a transparent bat smashing at bricks. And there are more themed scenes to enjoy as the game progresses.

In this version, the ball came right at me, which changed the perspective of the game way more than I could have envisaged. It did take some getting used to, but the developers did a good job of using simple artistic perspective (like gradually increasing size of a returning ball) to make the game more life-like.

I found the power-ups to be innovative; they made the original BB port fun. But these ain’t your Uncle Hank’s basic power-ups . No sir. The power-ups range from staccato-sounding Shotgun to reflex-resting Force Field. The power-ups added a challenging — yet achievable — level of difficulty for me, which was good. Besides bricks and power-ups, there were high-scoring gems that yielded points too.

As in the original, I completed a level by disposing of all the bricks, regardless of score. Still, points are the name of the game, because my rep is based off my high score, and there is an online chart where I could compare my prowess to other brick damaging geniuses.

I was fairly impressed with this re-imagined version of brick breaker. While the controls did take some getting used to (even though, as noted, the developers made a valiant effort to include options to make tracking the ball easier), overall, it is a pretty cool interpretation of the game that makes it ever new.

Neon Blaster Review

Neon Blaster Review

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.