I like some unique games, and while Microsoft’s XBLA service used to scratch that itch for me, lately I’ve been finding great games on the PC instead. Break Blocks, aside from having a terrible name, is another little gem that probably would never have been published without digital distribution on the PC.
It sounds like Break Blocks could be just one more Arkanoid clone that you could play on Kongregate for free, but the presentation is top notch, the learning curve is great, and like all of the great puzzle games out there, Break Blocks is easy to learn and hard to master. (And a bonus: some of the proceeds from the game are donated to charity.)
The frame here is that you’re an up-and-coming break dancer. In order to prove that you’re the very best, you’ll need to beat the current top 13. To dance, you break blocks on the playing field. Break more blocks more often, and you’ll execute more complex moves. Execute more complex moves than your opponent more often, and you’ll win the contest.
You’re playing on a circular grid. When a new block shows up in the middle, you have to rely on your DDR (or Sequence) skills to unlock it. Once you pass the rhythm check, it’s time to place the block on the dance floor. Simply choose a direction and fire – the block then falls as far to outside as it can, and if you’ve planned properly you’re starting to amass groups of the same color all over the dance floor. Once you’ve matched enough colors, a power move comes available that destroys the groups of blocks and causes your avatar to bust a move and, hopefully, win over the crowd to win the match. As the game moves on the songs get faster, which makes for more hectic play even though you’ll have seen all of the game’s mechanics in your first fight.
Break Blocks suffers from some control issues, but if you happen to have a 360 pad laying around, a program like joy2key alleviates them. After that, just sit back, enjoy the ride, and get ready to look up at the clock and realize that you meant to go to bed over an hour ago. The chunky aesthetic mixed with the great soundtrack and solid mechanics makes for a game that you won’t want to put down.
Pros: Great tutorial, interesting twist on the classic Arkanoid formula
Cons: You’ve seen everything the game has to offer after the first fight