Developer: Trileet Inc.
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

img_001114Fond memories are all that I can summon for Breakout on my old Atari 2600. It was a game that I was completely incompetent to play as a young boy, but somehow it held my interest. The bright colors, simple shapes and a sound palette that was jarring in the best way possible all drew me into thousands of very short games. Later, I’d download freeware games like bananoid for my pc and continued to love the concept of any well-done block breaker.

Reflexion by Trileet stands out among a huge group of Breakout clones on the App Store. A few have shaken up the formula with 3-D perspectives and circular paddle paths, but this game takes things a step further. In previous block breaking games, the paddle has always moved along a set path. Reflexion allows you to draw the paddle (up to a set length) anywhere on the screen. Additionally, you can continue to control one end of the paddle you just created. This allows you to swing the paddle around in circles, lengthen and shorten it and effectively make the paddle’s reach twice as long.

Reflexion contains two gameplay modes: Arcade and Puzzle. Arcade is a straightforward campaign through levels, and Puzzle lets you select interestingly built levels (often with famous game images rendered in blocks) and try to finish them without losing lives.

Gameplay

img_000117The differences of Reflexion’s control scheme don’t take long to explain, but the changes in strategy that those differences create are epic. Yes, you can trap a ball within a small area and obliterate all the blocks in that area. This seems like it would make the game easier, and, for a bit, it does. Then the developer removes a section of the wall behind that area, making it necessary to be extremely precise when eliminating those blocks. This allows creation of staggeringly difficult levels that would be completely impossible within the traditional game. The ability to rotate and shorten the paddle helps you in really interesting ways. For example, if you have trapped a ball in an enclosed area, you can slowly change the angle to gradually destroy blocks, and you can instantly move the paddle if you are dangerously close to breaking thru and shooting outward into oblivion. This control makes the game much more about angles and quick reactions.

Luckily, the full array of familiar power-ups and a few new ones are also available to help. Additional balls, speed boosts/slow motion, length increase and decrease, and many others are available. One inparticular allows you to control the ball when you rotate the paddle. I remember something like this from the old days, but the dynamics of Reflexion make it much more powerful.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics in Reflexion are good, but it’s not really the focus of the game. Depending on your tastes you may not sink completely comfortably into this aesthetic. The sound effects are dynamic and big, which fits this kind of game perfectly. The music was passable but didn’t inspire me in a way that matched the stellar gameplay. All criticisms aside, nothing here detracts from the gaming experience.

I mentioned at the beginning of this review that I loved Breakout while being completely incompetent. I can’t say that my skills have improved greatly, but I still really enjoyed Reflexion and found myself opening it up many times during the week. I believe that the 50 levels that are included bring a substantial amount of replay value, and that the game itself justifies its price point. It’s a great spin on a classic game and definitely worth a purchase.

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