Arkanoid, by Taito
• Great “breakout” style game
• Good graphics, good background sound effects
• Only one multiplayer option
• Limited game modes
[Comment: The past semester has been extremely hectic and busy, thus I haven't really been able to write any reviews. While things are still more busy than I would like, it looks like things are slowing down a bit, and I hope to catch up on some of the reviews. I know that there are some people who have given me promo codes and I owe a review - you have not been forgotten!]
Arkanoid is a classic breakout game, popular in arcades and later on computer systems. While Arkanoid for the iPhone doesn’t break any new ground, it delivers a visually pleasing, fun to play variant of the breakout genre of games.
Arkanoid is like almost every other breakout game – you have a paddle, you have a ball bouncing around, you try to break bricks. Different levels have different configurations of bricks, different patterns. You can pick up power ups like “catch” (to catch the ball), “elongate” (to make you paddle longer), “3-way” (for three balls), etc. But watch out, some power ups hurt, like shrinking you paddle next to nothing!
Controlling the paddle is easy – on the bottom of the screen you just move your finger back and forth to move you paddle. I like this better than having to tilt the iPhone or tapping the sides of the screen to move the paddle – it seems more “organic” as a control method. You can play with either lives modes (with a limited number of lives) or a barrier mode (with a barrier at the bottom that gets weaker every time it is hit with the ball). You can also choose the difficulty level and if there are enemies (simply things floating around the screen). When you complete the levels within a “zone” you get to choose the next zone to advance to – sort of like a “which path to choose”.
The multiplayer mode is for two people to compete directly head to head on the same iPhone. It’s a little cramped (better on the iPad?) but a fun way to play. It would be nice to add some wifi or internet based multiplayer – and even a cooperative mode where you compete directly on the same side of the screen – but it may be difficult to implement those.
There are two hidden episodes in the Arkanoid game. I didn’t get high enough to unlock them, but they appear to be new levels and new ships.
The graphics in Arkanoid aren’t anything spectacular…but they don’t need to be. They just need to be clear, crisp graphics to show the game screen, and they do that. The background sounds effects add to the game (metallic “dings”, alien sounding “pings”) – again, nothing spectacular, but simply something that you can hear in the background to improve the game play experience. I generally like aspects of game play that don’t overwhelm, that are a little subtle.
All in all, this is a nice, this is a fun breakout game, well designed and delivered. It doesn’t really offer anything above other apps, but it delivers on what it brings to the table. At $4.99, it is a little more expensive than other breakout style games, but the graphics are nice and clean and the quality of the game shows through. If you like Arkanoid from the arcade, you will probably enjoy this app. Four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.