BreakQuest: Extra Evolution Review
A game you've probably played before and when you did, it was probably better
If you have played video games since the Atari or ever owned a first-generation smartphone or Blackberry, more likely than not you have played a ball-and-paddle game similar to classic games like Arkanoid and Breakout (to which I’m sure BreakQuest’s title is an allusion). While this block-busting game type has proven itself to be a somewhat timeless bit of arcade fun, how well does a new entry in the series stand out today?
BreakQuest: Extra Evolution is a Playstation Mini, Sony’s mostly neglected answer to Xbox Live Indie Games and the iOS App Store. As such, it was mostly likely developed with Playstation Portable in mind but can be played on both Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita as well. I played the game on my Playstation 3.
If you’ve ever played another ball-and-paddle game, the basic mechanics of BreakQuest: Extra Evolution will be readily apparent to you. Each stage in the game requires the player to clear them off all blocks, circles or other shapes by hitting them enough times with a ball that is bounced off a paddle along the bottom of the screen. If the ball is not properly deflected the paddle and it goes off the bottom of the screen, the player loses a life. After hitting certain blocks or just over the course of time, power-ups and power-downs will appear and can be collected. Power-ups will extend the length of your paddle, the angle of its deflection, grant limited use lasers and missiles that can be used to destroy blocks or spawn additional balls. Power-downs will freeze the paddle in place, disable the range of deflection making the paddle considerably smaller and other similarly debilitating temporary mechanic changes.
Visually, BreakQuest is somewhat unique for a game of this type. Rather than simply featuring different geometric layouts of rectangular blocks, BreakQuest’s levels are a bit more organic, featuring flowers, life preserver-like inner tubes, ropes and other objects that act to impede the player’s access to certain blocks and deflect the ball in unusual ways. A few levels take this concept and run with it creating an environment free from any blocks until the player passes the ball through a certain point or requires the ball to hit a number of specific targets without hitting any of them more than once and deactivating them. These levels were the most interesting in the game, mixing a bit of puzzle mechanics to a standard, fairly boring base game.
With at least 100 levels including a number of boss fights in which the level acts to actively impede the player, BreakQuest includes a sizeable amount of content. Sadly, the aforementioned levels requiring a bit more finesse and with a bit of a puzzle aspect to them were too few and far between. In the end, the majority of levels offered by BreakQuest are nothing more than slightly unusually styled block layouts.