#951 Shatter

Posted: 11th June 2013 by Jeroen in Games
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246th played so far

Genre: Sports
Platform: PC/PS3
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Sidhe Interactive
Publisher: Sidhe Interactive

Let me, as way of introduction for this game, discuss the genre decisions for the games we use. Rather than them being made up by us, they’re based on the genres listed in the book. This usually matters little, but occasionally leads to odd results. We’ve discussed the difference between driving and racing before, but sometimes it’s the individual game that is different.

Shatter is derived from Breakout and Arkanoid, both listed as action games, which both are more advanced versions of Pong, which is classified as a sports game (this time derived from table tennis). Shatter, as you see, is considered a sports game. They did not, as far as I’m aware, add anything that would make it more sporty, rather the opposite…

Our Thoughts

Told as an expansion of the standard Arkanoid plotline, this downloadable game has you travel through weird galaxies, fight your way through levels and kill bosses in between by hitting them with balls (yet never in them).

That on its own is already pretty good. The gameplay holds up and with a nice, graphical upgrade it’s already a good game. There’s some awesome boss designs and nice challenges to go with it. It’s got some nice different block designs – aside from the usual multiple hits and special hit ones, there’s also moving bricks, attracting bricks and rotating bricks. On its own, it’s an enjoyable game already.

Then here’s where it gets better. Aside from the direction of the game not just being up, your paddle can be on all sides – sometimes it’s on the left, sometimes a quarter circle, all possible. You’re in outer space – who cares about gravity?

Speaking of gravity… how does manipulating it sound? In particular, being able to attract to your paddle (making the ball and power-ups rush towards you) or repel them (meaning that, yeah, the ball can bounce back up). Useful, right? It makes the gameplay more interesting and often allows for combos and easier manipulation of the ball. At the same time, it’s quite intuitive – not much getting used to it required. And lives and extra balls are cheap and easy to get, meaning that some experimenting is fine – you can afford to be creative.

Alongside this ability to alter gravity the game also shows you where your ball is set to land. This (alongside the well organized control system) allows you to set up a large number of combos, leading to score multipliers and a further climb up the high score tables. Awesome.

It’s a nice variation of a theme and the different gameplay, combined with the nice graphics, make for a good, playable game that’s familiar enough to pick up easily, but interesting enough to try out and get a different experience.

Final Thoughts

To be honest the brick-breaker genre has been so done to death that to find a recent game that has made a real effort to bring a degree of innovation and originality is actually rather disarming. In many ways it is a love-letter to the old classics whilst also demonstrating what modern technology can achieve. It’s definitely a title that every Steam or PS3 owner should have in their collection.