Developer: Ilia Vishnevsky
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

One of the most exciting things a classic game can do is successfully make the leap from 2D to 3D. It’s what made Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Metroid Prime so beloved and revolutionary. While Skyvenger 3D: Orbital Debris is definitely operating on a lower level, its 3D spin on vintage brick-breaking still succeeds.

skyvenger 1Like any Breakout-style game, Skyvenger 3D has players reflecting balls into structures of different shapes and sizes to whittle them away brick by brick. The only difference here is that the structures extend into the Z-axis. The playfield is like a giant sphere with the structure inside it, and by tilting their device players can move their “paddle” along the sphere’s surface like a shooter reticule.

Opening up all of these new spatial possibilities is exciting, but also overwhelming; especially once the ability to combine multi-balls and other power-ups is introduced. Luckily the game is great at letting players manage their expanded freedom. First, aside from occasional crashes and freezes, the controls are extremely smooth so lining up precise shots is a breeze. A helpful indicator also shows players the trajectory of the ball so they can intercept it. Just following the guide won’t set players up for the trickier shots needed to clear the later, harder stages full of bombs and unbreakable bricks, but it’s a useful reminder nonetheless.

skyvenger 4The rest of Skyvenger 3D mostly exists as a delivery system for the awesome 3D brick-breaking mechanic, but that’s not so bad. The sound effects are satisfyingly crisp, the music is funky, and the space station-esque structures that make up the 85 levels are bright, detailed, and colorful. To make another Nintendo comparison, they look like something out of Starfox 64.

There’s nagging feeling that more beyond block smashing could be done with this mechanic; like fighting foes, evading obstacles, or surveying satellites. But if its biggest problem is that it only scratches the surface of its own potential, Skyvenger 3D must be doing something right.

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