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ArkanoArena: It's Not Just for the iPad Anymore

Posted by Rob Rich on September 16th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

I'm as agreeable to the concept of breaking blocks with a ball bounced off of a paddle as the next person, but unless it's a "classic" or does something "different" I'm generally not going to get excited about it. That said, I think it's safe to assume that ArkanoArena is "different" enough to pique my interest. In fact, it's a bit more than piqued at this point.

On a basic level, it's the same as any other paddle and brick kind of game: bounce a ball around, destroy the blocks, don't let the ball get past the paddle. It's the finer details that really set ArkanoArena apart. Details like using a steampunk vehicle situated on rails rather than a floating paddle and upgradable weapons and equipment. I'll admit, it's technically not "new" because iPad users have been able to enjoy this title for some time now, but it's new to those of us who don't own the Apple tablet. Regardless, it looks like something worth checking out.

ArkanoArena is available for both iPhones and iPod Touches, with 3GS and up (or equivalent) hardware, right now for $1.99. Arkanoid lovers: check this one out.

Ciganoid is Fun, but Kind of Disturbing

Posted by Rob Rich on August 11th, 2011

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what to make of Ciganoid. On one hand it's an entertaining Arkanoid clone with the added incentive of purchasable upgrades. On the other hand it's essentially an interactive anti-smoking ad which has players more-or-less playing the part of cancer as it destroys a smoker's lungs. Brick-by-brick. It's actually pretty twisted, the more I think about it.

It makes me a little uncomfortable when I play it, actually. The concept, I mean. I'm moving this cigarette paddle around, using the little ball (cancer?) to break up the lungs and grab falling green stuff (??). The green stuff can then be used between games in the store to upgrade the paddle or ball, but really it's being used to make the cancer more effective. Creepy.

I find it a little odd to have an interactive anti-smoking ad that has participants play the role of the "badguy." Although I suppose making it the other way around wouldn't make for much of a game. Still, as a game and not a condemnation of one of the world's most disgusting habits, it's fun. Ignoring the moral dilemma, Ciganoid is actually a fairly enjoyable game. It's retro in all the right places (looks and sounds), and I'm enjoying chasing the upgrade carrot quite a bit. As with most iOS games that taunt players with new, oh-so-close abilities, I want to keep playing (and inevitably failing) so that I can earn more cash and get better stuff. So I can use it to kill people more effectively.

It's interesting that Black Phoenix Games' other title, Don't Die, involves a vaguely similar idea. Granted it has more to do with unhealthy eating habits (and platforming) than lung cancer, but I'm starting to notice a pattern here. I'm not implying that they're crusaders for public health or anything, but it's interesting to see more developers creating games with a real message.

Bashi Blocks Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on August 3rd, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: SHODDY MASONRY
It's all here and more: Paddles, balls, bricks, multiple worlds, a level editor and even bosses. BOSSES. Yet Bashi Blocks still comes up short.
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Block Breaker 3 Unlimited Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Blake Grundman on July 27th, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: BREAKING EVEN
After a lengthy absence from the block breaking genre, Gameloft tries to ride triumphantly back into the kingdom, but ends up falling a little flat.
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Jet Ball

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jason Fanguy on March 4th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: BEDAZZLING BRICK-BREAKING
Jet Ball is a "brick-breaking" clone that takes all the past successes and failures of the “brick-breaking” genre and establishes a new standard, shattering the bricks of it’s predecessors.
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