148Apps Network Post
Developer: Atari
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime: Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Atari’s been reviving their classic franchises on iOS; first was the dual-stick shooter reinvention of Asteroids as Asteroids Gunner. While that took a lot of liberties with the Asteroids formula, their latest reinvention, Breakout Boost, is a bit more traditional. The classic Arkanoid-esque gameplay is here: break all the bricks by bouncing a ball off of a paddle at the bottom of the screen.

The ‘Boost’ part of the title comes from the adjustable speed mid-game; faster speeds increase point multipliers, though at the cost of more likely failure, of course. Changing speeds mid-game becomes an interesting strategic decision; when the ball is bouncing off of other bricks and players just kind of sit back and watch, it’s smart to crank the speed to 10 and watch the points rack up. And of course, slowing the speed down makes it easier to not die. The freemium model in play here thankfully doesn’t involve any kind of credits: just purchasing of additional level packs that introduce new level packs..

However, the free part of the game is kind of lacking, as it’s really just a demo of 5 levels; shilling out a “Like” on Facebook unlocks 10 more. Visually, the game is bland; everything just feels kind of soulless, like nothing else is going on than balls hitting bricks in a spartan environment. The backgrounds have no life to them, just being static patterns, so it’s not exactly the most exciting game to look at. Controls generally work well, although it would be nice on the iPad if the controls were more thumb-friendly with offsets, and perhaps a smaller bar for adjusting the game speed on the fly.

Breakout Boost doesn’t have a lot going on for free, but its very fair and affordable IAP practices are appealing in a world where even someone like myself, who understands the move to consumable IAP, feels kind of annoyed by the shoehorning of it in games where it otherwise doesn’t belong. Breakout and Arkanoid fans should give this one a test.

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