Reviews
Acky’s Breakout Reloaded – Brick Breaker

By Jorge Figueiredo - January 11th, 2015

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When I was younger, I used to burn a lot of time playing Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh II (aka Arkanoid 2) on my Commodore 128. I had played breakout games before that, of course, but there was something magical about Arkanoid 2 that hooked me right away. There have been many Breakout clones since then, on many different platforms – with some being more entertaining than others. Isotope 244 recently released their own entry in to the breakout genre with Acky’s Breakout Reloaded – Brick Breaker for iOS and Android devices. While not the most modern-looking game, Acky’s Breakout Reloaded is definitely a fun game with an 80’s arcade feel that won’t break the bank.

The idea of Acky’s Breakout Reloaded is as you would expect: you control a paddle and can deflect a ball into a space full of bricks to break – destroy all of the bricks and you win the round; allow the ball to get past your paddle and you lose a life. It’s a simple, yet addictive premise that is made easier still by the use of touch controls. Bricks come in different varieties, giving the playing field some variety. Some bricks, for instance, take more than one hit to destroy, which makes them more difficult to get rid of than standard bricks. In addition to the different brick types, power-ups are contained within the level and can be retrieved by breaking the bricks that they are hidden within (and intercepting them as they fall). Successfully catching these elusive gems leads to interesting effects on your paddle and ball – but bear in mind that these effects can be positive or negative.

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There are a lot of items to help and hamper you.

These mechanics are very similar to other games that have come before; however, there are a few additions that make it different than other breakout games. First of all, players can actually create new balls by using ether; it takes a certain amount of ether to create a new ball, but luckily the ether meter recharges over time – you can also collect it during play as it falls from certain bricks. There are also a number of different pilots and pets to select from, each with their own abilities (players can only use one pilot and one pet at a time). Each of the Pilots and pets tend to have a natural advantage in certain levels, so it’s usually a good idea to grab a bunch using the game’s currency: pizza.

Players earn pizza when they finish rounds – and the better they do the more pizza they get. Pizza can be used by the player to acquire other pilots and ether, giving them an edge in the next round that they play. Sadly, collecting enough pizza to be useful takes quite a long time – so, of course, you can acquire more pizza using real money thanks to in-app purchases.

Visuals are certainly not cutting-edge, but they are decidedly retro and bring back the memories of my youth when I played these kinds of games on my home computer and in the local arcade. Graphics are bright and animations are relatively smooth (regardless of whether or not you’re playing on a compatible iPod Touch or iPad – though the iPad seems to handle movement slightly better). I really dig how your pilot and pet are “placed” in the paddle. Audio is decent enough; an upbeat soundtrack accompanies some sci-fi sound effects – but the sound mix is a bit off and could use some tweaking (samples sound isolated, which makes things feel a bit disjointed).

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So many ways to play!

Controls are well-implemented – I’m glad that Isotope 244 decided to go with touch-controls rather than tilt controls. You can place your finger just under the paddle so that your view of the action is not obscured. Additional controls are placed on either side of the playing field for easy access. Sensitivity is just right, resulting in tight controls and a great overall experience.

Acky’s Breakout Reloaded contains 175 levels (including challenge levels in which you cannot touch the tops or sides of the board – just the bricks and the paddle), and it has leaderboards that are populated with your score. Its retro-sensibilities and fun twists make it one of the more entertaining breakout-style games in recent memory, and is definitely worth the change that is required to purchase it if you are a fan of breakout games. You can grab yourself a copy on iTunes or Amazon.

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