Developer: HeroCraft
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Since the beginning of time, ok, since Arkanoid, many gamers have been addicted to bouncing a ball at a plethora of blocks. Myself included. It’s an addictive yet incredibly simple concept. It’s also one that is rarely changed around much. Magic Orbz might offer the same basic elements of Arkanoid but it does so with a hefty dash of imagination and personality. It’s a potent mix.

The same idea is there: players are presented with a screen of blocks, all waiting to be cleared by a well placed bouncing ball. The difference here is that the blocks aren’t just bricks, they’re scenery. Pirate, shark and shaman themed episodes are available, each offering different obstacles to clear. This means there are some luscious landscapes to destroy.

Much like a pinball table, players can bounce the ball around in order to destroy pirate ships, hit cannons which fire cannonballs at heftier obstacles such as pieces of land, or simply ricochet around in order to take out a number of sharks at once. Ultimately, the same game mechanics are in there, but such variations in the targets keeps things feeling fresh.

It’s all done quite well, too. Plenty of power-ups are available with an equal mixture of good, bad and neutral changes. While some items help greatly, such as a triple ball ability, others might reduce the paddle’s size or speed the ball up a little too much for comfort. The addition of neutral power-ups is a nice touch, with it being possible to change the backdrop of a level to night time and bringing with it, its own advantages and disadvantages.

Slight technical problems do arise, but they’re relatively forgivable. Controls are placed on either side of the screen to dictate the direction of the paddle, but the buttons are a little small. Magic Orbz is forgiving in that it allows players to touch near to the buttons but it would have been all the easier if half of the screen had been devoted to one direction and so forth.

That aside and Magic Orbz is exceptionally good fun. It’s an enjoyable re-imagining of a tried and tested formula and one that easily offers that ‘one more go’ factor.

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