The title screen, one of the 20 or so help/tips screens and a welcome choice of seven different languages
You see, over the years, developers have been trying to find ways to
build in more excitement to the basic Arkanoid premise. So we've had the
special bricks that release drop down bonuses that you have to catch on your paddle.
a curved paddle, giving more control of how the ball bounces off it.
extra game modes, including multi-ball action.
ever more elaborate patterns of bricks
To these, Ball Breaker 3 Unlimited HD adds:
a back story (yes, really, an array of virtual 'opponents')
items to collect (and buy, in a virtual shop) that relate to your opponent and the current 'city map'
irregular playing area, with tunnels and channels to bounce the ball into, leading to other areas
not one, not two, not three... etc. but seven different game modes
('Survival', 'Endless', 'Time trial', etc - all initially locked and you
unlock them as you along, clearing levels and hitting things)
eight different city maps, each of which has 15 levels, each of
which typically has two or three sub-game-levels embedded within it
'Angry Birds' style star ratings for how completely you got through
each level (i.e. hit everything, collected everything, avoided all the
various gameplay innovations (of which more below)
I'm not even sure the list above is
definitive, there's so much on offer here. It's all a bit overwhelming -
and this is before you've bounced your first ball!
As you start to play Ball Breaker 3 Unlimited HD, pop-ups appear to
tell you about each new type of brick or bonus you encounter. These are a
little annoying if you've already read right through the Help screens
(as I did!) but for those diving straight into the action the pop-ups
are a good idea.
And then it's into 'breaking', with single and then multi-ball
Arkanoid action. Paddle control is done via sliding your finger along
the purple bar at the bottom of the screen - this works well to keep
your fingertip away from the actual paddle, i.e. your view is never
blocked. It's a shame that the help pop-ups all tell you to 'touch the
left and right of the screen' - I'm guessing this message is from a port
of the game to a different mobile platform. On Symbian, it's definitely
a one-finger-slide game.
Showing some of the wierd and
wonderful gameplay layouts you'll encounter, tunnels and channels
everywhere - there's been a lot of effort put into level design! 'Hit
combo' and 'Triple climax', eh? Wow.
More tunnels and formations of blocks
- it's all rather reminiscent of navigating the innards of some huge
'Death Star' - not that I've done this, you understand... Well, not for
There's a lot on screen at any one time, from the ball and paddle to
the often animated block formations, graphical effects, falling bonuses
and hazards, but it's been coded well for Symbian^3's graphics
acceleration and the frame rate never became too slow. It was never
silky smooth either, mind you, but the amount of processing needed never
got in the way of the fun I was having, so I'll give Ball Breaker 3
Unlimited HD a definite 'pass' here.
I did mention 'innovations' earlier - several of the features here
employ the technique of tapping and holding the paddle to activate (e.g.
some of the more 'explosive' ways to clear blocks. Most impressive of
all was the way Gameloft's programmers have got round the age old
problem of the last block on a level being almost impossible to clear.
Traditionally, you'd keep bouncing the ball around, varying the angle
of reflection and desperately trying to get it right to clear that
last, pesky block. It would take ages and was definitely Arkanoid's
weakest gameplay area. Here in Ball Breaker 3 Unlimited HD, when down to
the last couple of blocks, tapping and holding the paddle effects an
'auto-aim' on the bounced ball, sending it exactly in the direction of
the remaining blocks. A huge time saver and a great idea.
It's fairly easy to progress in the game, but don't take this as a
sign that it's too easy, since there are a huge number of levels to get
through and, even if you play the same level twice, it's never going to
be the same, thanks to the on-screen action depending on what you do
with your paddle (and depending on your reactions).
Most importantly, even if (like me) you only really get to grips with
about half of the special powers and bonuses on display, you'll still
have a blast - this is most definitely the best ball & paddle game
I've played on a mobile device. A graphical key to all the special
blocks and bonuses would have been nice rather than just text
descriptions, but I'm being somewhat picky.