Date: 04-27-2011 20:00
Author: Mason King

PDC profile: Mason

The brick-breaking genre has been something of a popular hit over smart-phones recently. But can the addictive game-play be carried over to the Minis service in Beatshaper's 'BreakQuest'?

Breaking Bricks

Just like any other game in this genre, the player controls a bar at the bottom of the screen that can be moved left and right (in BreakQuest it is called a "ship"), protecting a bouncing ball from escaping into the realms of emptiness (otherwise known as the bottom of the screen). However, such task is boring without any destruction, so blocks appear at the top of the screen to destroy while the ball bounces around. However, in the case of BreakQuest, plain blocks are replaced with lots of different designs such as optical illusions, expanding circles, and even a space invaders layout. It doesnít disappoint in terms of variety, with the inclusion of 100 of these unique levels to play through. Also, any game like this isnít without its power-ups, which come in the standard flavours of multi-balls and larger/smaller sizes of your ship. However, there are some more interesting and unusual power-ups here, such as the ability to use rockets to wipe out many blocks at a time. I was impressed with the amount of content here for such a small game.

The key to a successful brick-breaker is addictive game-play with sharp/satisfying controls, and this is where I had mixed feelings. The game can impress with its content, but it didn't give me a lot of motivation to keep on playing, and after playing a level or two I quickly lost interest in playing. This is partly due to the fact that the graphics seem a bit pale and dull. The 2D images aren't brought to life in any way, and the backgrounds are both ugly and boring. I am also dissatisfied with the control scheme being used. The movement with the analog stick felt too loose and fast, while the d-pad was too precise and slow. The lack of a middle ground caused me to miss the ball numerous times. Luckily, the game is a little forgiving, providing a fair amount of lives and saving progress after completing each level.

Brick Buster
Whilst Iíve been playing through BreakQuest, loads of little things have sprung up that I thought were bizarre. Most annoying of the lot is the text on the menus, which is due to the small font size. I found the text hard to read on my tiny PSP screen, and it even required me to sit very close to the TV when playing on my PS3. Another thing that I began to hate was the design of the pause menu. Like most games, pressing Start pauses the game, but another tap of Start exits the game. This might not sound like a problem, but as someone who always taps the start button to exit a pause menu and re-enter game-play, I often accidentally got kicked out the game by pressing the wrong button.

These little flaws did make my experience a little less smooth, but I suppose for its price, the game isnít too bad. Itís not nearly as addictive as some of the other games in the genre, nor is it the most impressive visually, but it does include a lot of content to play through, and itís certainly good at being a game that can be picked up and played for short bursts. Even if you do manage to get through all of the levels, there are 3 difficulty modes to play through for each one, a high-scores table, and an arcade mode to keep playing through, but i canít personally see anybody playing that much without getting bored.

Final Verdict
For the price, you are getting a brick breaker full of variety and many of levels to puzzle through. However, I quickly lost interest because of the uninspiring graphics and awkward controls. If you are looking for something to play for hours, then I donít suggest buying this game. If you are looking for something to play for quick 5 minute blasts, you will likely find some value here.

BreakQuest was developed by Beatshapers and is out now on the PlayStation Store for all regions. I played this game for over 10 hours over the past 18 months, on both PS3 and a PSP-3000/Go.

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