Review: Block Breaker 3: Unlimited (iOS)

Those Blocks Be Brickin’ It

If there’s one thing I love, it’s retro-inspired fun. Gameloft, developers of great iOS titles such as N.O.V.A. 2: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance and Order & Chaos Online, released Block Breaker 3: Unlimited earlier today to the masses. While it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel (or revolutionise gaming for that matter), Block Breaker 3 is a good Breakout clone with snazzy graphics and some pretty cool gameplay elements. If you’re a fan of the classic’s simplicity, you may find Block Breaker 3 to be overkill. Nevertheless, Gameloft’s retrotastic offering has solid gameplay, and its hectic nature makes for an addictive little game.

Up a Creek with a Very Large Paddle

The objective in Block Breaker 3 is pretty simple. Move the paddle at the bottom of the screen using the touchscreen to deflect a ball (or in some instances, many balls) into a pattern of blocks. Hitting a block causes it to disappear, earning you some points in the process, while also speeding up the ball’s movement. What sets Block Breaker 3 apart from Breakout, for example, is the wide selection of power-ups and crazy goings-on. Fed up of balls bouncing around? Get the right power-up and blast your way through them with bullets. It must be noted that this isn’t anything new – power-ups are just as common in Breakout clones as…well, Breakout clones. Nevertheless, the ones found in Block Breaker 3 are fun, and some make inventive use of the touch screen.

In addition to power-ups, there are also enemies to combat, and boy, do these really mix up the gameplay aspect. In particular, one enemy sucks up the ball, takes aim, and then fires it towards an open space at a phenomenal speed. Elements like this make the gameplay a bit more strategic – you have to carefully aim your projectiles if you are to conquer the enemies.

Block Breaker 3 also features multiple screens of blocks in a single level. This is where the game really shines. Carefully deflect your ball into a narrow chute (I felt very much like Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star when I managed this) and you’ll suddenly see it accelerated towards another part of the stage or a bonus area where goodies are abundant. It’s the fast-paced nature of this that makes Block Breaker 3 one of the more entertaining Breakout clones.

Visually, Block Breaker 3 reminds me very much of Peggle. Everything is clean and shiny, and the vibrant colours match the gameplay. As a result, I was able to, more often than not, keep track of what was going on. However, in terms of overall presentation, something lacks. It has that horrible social/casual game feel to it, thanks to the inclusion of cutesy characters and a vague, cringe-worthy narrative. Of all the games out, one where you hit blocks using a paddle and ball does not need a storyline; it just makes everything cheesy and really detracts from what Block Breaker 3 gets right – the gameplay. However, after a little fiddling around in the options menu, I found that the story could be turned off, a welcome relief. This made the whole experience a lot smoother, but it does make me wonder who would want to play for the story in the first place.

The music is best described as some sort of retro-techno. Again, much like the graphics, it’s perfectly suited to the frantic nature of the gameplay, and while it may be somewhat forgettable in the long run, it’s certainly worth having your sound turned up for.

The Final Verdict

With a ton of levels to play through, Block Breaker 3: Unlimited is a great time-waster. Gameloft have got the gameplay side of things down to an art, and the bright, clean visuals not only look pretty, but also don’t have a negative effect on playing the game as has been the case with other clones in the past. While it may not be the most engaging or immersive experience, Block Breaker 3 is addictive and fun – it’s not too difficult to lose track of time while playing this and complete five or six levels without knowing it. At a mere 59p/99 cents, you can’t really go wrong, so get on your iPod or iPad and give it a go – you’d be a blockhead not to!

One Response to “Review: Block Breaker 3: Unlimited (iOS)”
  1. Obviously I’ve not got an iPhone and can’t really compare this one out, but I really loved Sidhe’s Shatter for its improvement on the Breakout template.

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