I’ve always found video games that reproduce the original Breakout-style experience to be a jumble of both relaxing and frustrating moments. Sitting back and watching a ball bounce back and forth up and down the screen destroying blocks in its path might have a certain therapeutic feel to it, but when you’re down to the final few and suddenly need to be accurate with your bounces this sensation can quickly turn into something far less enjoyable. #Breakforcist Battle is just that, delivering the same maddening and fun sensations you’ve probably already experienced playing this type of game before.
Taking a look at the seventies classic Breakout and then this effort from Lucid Sheep Games, little has really changed when it comes to the formula (besides the obvious graphical update and addition of items). You’re still controlling a small paddle at the bottom of the screen as you attempt to keep a ball bouncing up and down. You’re still trying to eliminate a group of blocks hanging at the top of the screen by successfully deflecting the ball in their direction. Instead of flipping the table, #Breakforcist Battle chooses not to stray much beyond the Atari original, a move that results in a reliable if somewhat unsurprising game.
Power-ups and weapons are perhaps the biggest additions (but again something we’ve seen countless times before in other imitations out there already). Obtained by hitting special egg blocks, these serve as essential helplines as you try to remove all blocks on screen before a constantly lowering ceiling reaches your paddle. These bonuses might turn your projectile into a fireball blasting through anything in its way, add bacon firing lasers to your paddle or even throw a few extra balls into the mix. Bombs placed randomly in each wave of blocks also help eliminate batches quicker too. While this may all sound like it would make the game too easy, trust me when I say you will need to make use of these items just to survive.
You’ll only find two modes in #Breakforcist Battle: Arcade and Battle. The former plays out exactly as you’d expect as you make your way through waves of blocks eliminating them and racking up the best score possible. Continue to knock out blocks without losing the ball and your combo will rise. It’s fairly standard stuff enhanced slightly by the option to play co-operatively with a second player. Snap off your second Joy-Con and the pair of you can work together restricted to one half of the screen each. While Arcade offers short bursts of fun, it’s the game’s Battle mode that delivers the best experience. Playable for up to four players, Battle mode is once again a game of survival, the screen split four ways and each competitor doing their very best to outlast the others. The only difference here is that now you must also contend with the attacks of your friends. It’s frantic, highly competitive and often over in less than a minute. Perfect for a night in with friends.
Thanks to the game’s very simple control scheme, the Joy-Con feel like a perfect fit even in multiplayer. While a motion control option is offered, it doesn’t offer the same level of accuracy and often resulting in many balls just missing my paddle.
The lack of content in the game wouldn’t be such a sore point had it not been for the lack of online leaderboards. It’s becoming a bit of trend with Nintendo Switch titles on the Nintendo eShop especially for score focused games such as this and had this feature been included it might have added a little more incentive to keep playing the repetitive Arcade mode.
Visually, #Breakforcist Battle stands out with its pastel palette and bright chunky cartoon style – the characters in particular varied and fun-looking. The breakfast food theme also means the game definitely has a unique charm about it. As much as I enjoy the look of the game, I feel it could have benefitted from having the play area a little bigger especially when it comes to multiplayer leaving a lot of spare space not really used.
#Breakforcist Battle might not reinvent the wheel when it comes to block-breaking games but it still proves to be an entertaining time albeit a content-light one. Strengthened by a bright and quirky visual style and some neat multiplayer features, #Breakforcist Battle is a short but sweet enough experience that could have done with a few more options for the lone player.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Lucid Sheep Games