No matter how unique and innovative a game may be individually, if there are a million and one other similar titles in the same genre, it can be hard for said game to rise above the competition. BreakQuest is one such title that, in spite of some interesting design features and aesthetics, seems to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of similar games on the market.
BreakQuest is a Breakout style game that has been available on pc for some time, but this review covers a recent port that has seen the game being released on the PSN’s minis service. The game falls into the bat and ball genre in the same vein as Breakout, requiring you to control a paddle that hits a ball across the screen in an attempt to smash all the blocks on the level.
Where BreakQuest separates itself from the rest of the riff raff is through a variety of gameplay improvements. You have the standard array of powerups that alter your paddle or the ball in some way, but there are also several projectile and gravity altering add ons that help you eliminate that last frustrating block should the need arise. What also gives BreakQuest a bit of added freshness is the use of a realistic 2D physics engine. Rather than a series of square blocks that disappear on contact, the levels in BreakQuest contain a variety of differently shaped objects and strung together obstacles that alter the gameplay dynamics in new and surprising ways. It also opens up the opportunity for some fantastic level designs that add a needed variety to the proceedings. I say variety but, whilst the game isn’t necessarily a monotonous title, there is only so far the standard bat and ball formula can go.
Aesthetically, BreakQuest is a bit of a hit and miss affair. The sound is well implemented, with chirpy 8-bit melodies that play in time with the bricks breaking, in the style of Rez. Graphically there are flashes of brilliance, with some level designs that will bring a smile to your face. Yet, the graphics generally seem a little blurry and low resolution. Especially if you play the game on PS3, though a game of Breakout will always look like a game of Breakout.
In terms of longevity it is difficult to entirely recommend BreakQuest, regardless of its low and reasonable retail price point. Though there are over one hundred levels and three difficulty settings to choose from, the lack of alternate modes make BreakQuest a potentially short lived experience. The story mode sees you complete the levels sequentially and the arcade mode plays through the levels randomly with occasionally altered rules and physics. That’s it and, even with the alternate rules of the arcade mode, what you see is what you get with BreakQuest. It is a reasonably well constructed game all around, with some intriguing and unique aesthetics and physics. That said, unless you are a true connoisseur of the Breakout game style, you are unlikely to find enough in a game like BreakQuest to justify the purchase.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation Portable.
Classic gameplay, Huge variety in levels, Great use of audio, Entertaining and realistic 2D physics engine
Not a huge amount of variety in gameplay, Not much you can do to modify the standard Breakout formula, Graphics are a little blurry
An interesting take on the ball and bat genre BreakQuest injects enough interesting elements to the formula to differentiate itself from its competitors but, even with a bitesize price point, the genre is too saturated for BreakQuest to be considered an essential purchase