Developer: Atari
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Breakout is back! Wait, again? Yes, after Breakout: Boost less than a year ago, there’s another Breakout revival, and this time Atari’s teamed up with Zynga for a much cuter take on the classic arcade game with Super Bunny Breakout. The balls are all cute animals with powerups that can be activated after they fill up, allowing for more effective breaking of blocks. While there’s several dozen set levels to play, and crazy environments with paddle-freezing goo to avoid, it’s ultimately the same classic game underneath, just with more cute animals.

That is underselling it, though: the game is willing to play with the formula enough to do something different, to “break out” of the mold of one-dimensional paddle movement with long horizontal bricks to break. Paddle movement is two-dimensional, which means velocity can be added to shots, and the level structures take the form of all kinds of crazy designs. It still feels like an entry in a familiar and well-known genre, but it’s not quite the same.

Now, Super Bunny Breakout features an energy mechanic but it’s actually kind of well-handled. I think. See, there are 6 characters to play as, with 4 that can be deployed to a level. Each character has an individual health bar that diminishes when a ball is missed, and it recharges over a period of 2 hours, so if the troops are faltering, just wait a couple hours and an army of creatures is ready to break out again. Well, the first time I tried this, it didn’t seem to work, and I was ready to bash Zynga for messing this up. But then the next time I waited a few hours, and it seemed the app was still in memory, and everyone was healthy again. Confusion abounded, but I played some more until I was low on health, and came back later. At first, no one healed and I wrote an angry screed. Then I double-checked and everyone was healthy again.

So, I’m baffled. If there’s just an issue with the recharging not working upon reopening the app, then I’ll just warn people to be careful, but that this is a shockingly well-handled use of the energy mechanic, one that capitalizes on IAP for impatient players only. If they aren’t supposed to recharge when the app isn’t open and I just took advantage of a couple of glitches, then the system is absolutely horrible and energy should recharge when outside the app, because it’s way too easy for purchased health items to go down the drain given the chaotic nature of the game.

Super Bunny Breakout is worth checking out for those who like the Breakout formula, and want to see it tweaked with, and featuring bunnies instead of lifeless spheres. Good luck figuring out that energy mechanic, though, it’s either terrible or benign!

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