Review: Breakspin takes you for a polished 360-degree spin
Disney is known for its iconic characters and legendary films so no wonder that Breakspin comes off as a highly polished, playable game. A brick breaker variant, this game looks and sounds extremely well put together incorporating beautiful visuals and a terrific array of music.
Consisting of 40 levels, the game builds on the brick breaker concept and creates what is a challenging and thoroughly addicting game. Using a 360-degree field, you maneuver paddles to bounce and angle orbs to destroy gems. Unlike traditional brick breakers, the game builds not on a vast amount of targets, but instead focuses on concentration and the ability to hit a limited number of targets several times before neutralizing them. In addition, you must maintain a viable Energy level to continue playing. Throughout the game, energy gradually depletes, and when an orb goes out of bounce, the energy level takes a further hit. If energy dwindles down to zero before the gems are cleared, it’s game over.
Visually, the gems are protected by energy fields which cause them to spin and vibrate. The layouts border on a pure retro look that provides a variety of different sounds and music to alter the mood. From techno beat to more relaxing tunes, Breakspin effectively sets the pace for each level.
The game has two types of control options: touch and slider. The touch option creates a single paddle that can be moved by dragging and swiping. The slider option creates two paddles and provides right and left sliders easily accessible using thumbs to rotate and move paddles. To activate an orb, you must tap the center of the screen. This is the one thing that needs to be tweaked because it can be somewhat difficult to tap the center of the screen and then place your fingers on the controls especially when using the dual-slider control option.
Another aspect worth highlighting that further differentiates Breakspin and adds a different dynamic to the game are the creatures. While the addition of a gradually depleting energy field throws a wrench into things, these creatures can either help or interfere with your game.
Thief—randomly moves gems
Parasite—repairs damaged gems
Helper—helps destroy gems
Poisoner—zaps energy levels
Regenerator—regenerates energy levels
Splitter—splits the orb into two orbs
Literally, these creatures which are gradually introduced as you progress, move simultaneously and with intent based on your gameplay although they can be scared away by hitting them with orbs. For example, Thief will move gems out of your way thus prolonging the experience, while Splitter effectively degrades the power from your orb making it harder to clear gems by dividing the orb into two.
However, you’re not left completely defenseless since there are also a number of power ups to be had and are randomly unleashed as gems are destroyed. These include Big Pad, Energy, Speed Ball, Mega Ball, Slow Ball, and Orbiting Orb to name a few. But, Breakspin goes one step further with the addition of Biohazard abilities. These are potential game changing abilities that must be earned through the levels and include Sonic Boom, Time Bomb, Energy Blockade, Energy Shield and Energy Rocket. With Time Bomb, for example, once your orb comes into contact with a gem, that gem is turned into a bomb that gets more intense each time its tapped with the orb before it explodes.
Breakspin also has 50 achievements based on any number of things including number of gems destroyed, securing bonuses and point milestones, successful use of biohazard weapons, and even scaring creatures away.
The gameplay in Breakspin is fun and engaging because of all the dynamics I’ve mentioned above. The game is not about destroying huge amounts of bricks or objects. In fact, when you look at a typical level, a game consists of a handful of gems behind energy fields which doesn’t look like much until you try pounding them several times to clear the screen. In later stages, the gameplay gets tougher because they include several different gem layouts within the same field. This requires unlocking the slide control and tilting the device to move to the next gem layout while the orb is in play. Of course, energy levels in those stages are limited and instead of one gem layout, you’ll be dealing with multiple ones. And often, creatures will move gems around which becomes more hazardous since a level won’t end until every last gem is cleared.
The game has a few shortcomings which are not deal breakers by any means. First is that you have unlimited attempts so there is little worry about restarting a game from scratch. Failing a level will only bring you back to that level to start over again. While a scoring summary is provided at the completion of a level, an accomplished achievement isn’t listed, which can be a tad annoying as are some of the minor typos here and there.
Overall, Breakspin is a top-notch arcade game, highly polished and certainly an unexpected surprise coming from Disney. With a good amount of depth, the game delivers solid and entertaining gameplay that should satisfy gamers looking for something different.
Albie Meter: 4 Stars (high production values with compelling gameplay; creatively livens up the brick breaker concept with numerous power ups and creatures)
Last edited by Big Albie; 08-16-2009 at 08:37 PM.