Shatter (PS3) Review
Shatter’s influences are pretty clear the moment that the game starts – Breakout. The player bounces a ball off a paddle at the bottom, or side, of the screen and tries to break bricks with it; the concept hasn’t really changed in almost 40 years. What Shatter does differently makes it worth the purchase – the ability to suck and blow both the ball and bricks around the stage coated in an amazing sound track.
Besides the arbitrary sucking and blowing jokes, the concept ends up working pretty well. While the ball is bouncing around, the player can slightly change the trajectory, making the game vastly more manageable when presented with only one remaining block left on the screen. Even the few brick types that are affected by the suck/blow commands make clearing a level easier as they can be sent into a ball or just sucked to the bottom of the stage to disappear forever, and ruin all hopes of an impressive score.
The destroyed blocks produce small shards that can be collected for points and to power up an attack that sends out hundreds of shards that can break blocks or damage bosses. While this is a nifty little addition most of the time it is just more effective to hit blocks or bosses with the ball instead of saving up the power for one attack. Considering that the game lets the player throw out additional balls, in the way of eating up one life per ball, the power to shoot out small shards seems to fall pretty flat in the way of damage potential.
All of these nifty additions to the core formula, while neat, make the game feel spastic at the same time and adding a level of control. Several balls flying around (bouncing off each other), power-ups falling from broken blocks, shards and floating blocks all happening at once make it rather hard to follow the course of the balls. This can be doubly true for boss fights, as even though those levels are devoid of blocks they do throw out projectiles that the balls can bounce off of. Mix all of this in with the ability to suck and blow items around so they move like the inside of a snow globe and losing a ball/life is pretty much a sure thing.
The best part of the game, hands down, is the sound track. Several times when I was playing the game I quickly became more interested in the music playing then the level that the ball was bouncing around. This makes the game feel less impressive than it really is, because it is one of the rare times that one aspect of the game done so well can make the rest feel like less.
Shatter is out now on Steam for 9.99, which is a steal because the soundtrack for the game alone is worth that price (and strangely available for that exact price). If you have enjoyed any version of Arkanoid, or Breakout, then Shatter is worth a purchase.
Not As Good As: Playing Breakout in a bar
Also Try: Any other Breakout clone
Wait For It: The sound track
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