The Breakout style genre is a stable of gaming on all manner of consoles throughout the years, and of course can be traced all the way back to the birth of the classic PONG. This simple ‘bat and ball’ dynamic hasn’t changed much with only the way we interact with the bat, or paddle, changing such as; knobs, trackballs, keyboards, mice, joysticks, and now touch pads or accelerometers.
Arkanoid of course mixed up the classic breakout by adding Power-ups which gave it a refreshing new lease of life. And, to Gameloft’s credit, I think Block Breaker 3 actually takes the genre even further.
The familiar mechanic of taking out blocks by hitting back balls is there, but the main objective in each level is reaching a big golden star. Unlike the usual block breaker games, Block Breaker 3 does not feature the regular one screen arrangement of blocks, instead the levels consist of multiple areas linked by pathways that eventually lead to the star. These areas contain the blocks, but not in the conventional layout of lines and stacks. Many are arranged in more intricate patterns, and some blocks are curved which adds a Peggle-like feel to parts of the game.
Each area generally requires you to fire your ball into a slot to unlock a pathway to the next area. These are blocked by both blocks and also floating jelly like enemies. These can be destroyed by hitting the jelly part of their heads, however if you hit them front on, they will spit out your ball as a fireball. This you can use to your advantage, for if there are some blocks in the path of said fireball, then all those blocks will be destroyed. Of course powerups also play a large part in the game. The usual-suspects are there, including lasers and magnets, as well as newer ones like the ability to absorb blocks to your paddle directly.
There are of course a few things that I don’t like about the game. The styling and tone of the levels character seem an odd fit, as if they were shoehorned in to appeal to a young and funky audience. However, they are very stereotypical and seem more out of touch with current trends. These are just bits of visual fluff used to tie the overworld levels together. But they really are not needed.
I’m also not a fan of the in-your-face approach to the in-app purchases, each level starts with load screen that asks if you wish to purchase perks, and occasionally you will mistakenly tap that instead of the start level button. It’s a small prince to pay when the game is priced at just 59p (¢99) but I think I’d prefer to have paid more to remove the in app purchases, and allow all perks and upgrades to be available through simply using coins as currency.
What I love though, is how levels begin to feel more like pinball tables than your traditional breakout clone. As the balls rebound through pathways, there are even multiple paddles in levels and areas, with some at the top of the screen to spice things up. Add to this a ton of levels, modes, and the addition of boss encounters that can be pretty darn tricky, and Block Breaker 3 offers up a fresh and challenging, but comfortably familiar game that’s highly enjoyable in both short and long play sessions.
Gameloft have once again been ambitious in what they want to achieve with Block Breaker 3, and that is an intense breakout game with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in. With some other Gameloft titles this approach hasn’t always been successful. But, do you know what? I think this time they’ve done it!
Block Breaker 3 is available for both iPhone and iPod Touch, and iPad (not universal) for 59p ($0.99). Get it on the