Take a classic video game, add a respected studio, a dash of modernism and a pinch of Battle Royale. Shake everything to mix each component and discover the new edition of Arkanoid, the famous brick breaker from 1986! Open your history books, we’re retracing the steps of the great epic of arcade games!
To understand where Arkanoid comes from, you need to look at another game: Breakout. In the early 1970s, when everything was still being invented, the Atari company got everything back on track with Pong, a tennis “simulation”. The public reception was so good that the bar owners called the company explaining that the terminal was no longer working. In fact, the coin mechanism is blocked by countless coins accumulated in the compartment provided for this purpose. Toward this end, Atari, through the voice of its founder Nolan Bushnell, asked two of its engineers to come up with a new concept. The duo, consisting of Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, the future founders of Apple, then imagined a PONG that could be played alone, after the conceptualization of Nolan Bushnell and Steve Bristow. This innovation gave rise to Breakout, an awesome title based on a simple idea: thanks to a racket placed at the bottom of the screen, the player pushes a ball to break the bricks placed in height. When the ball hits a brick, it disappears, but the ball continues on its way. You have to manage the rebounds and the transfers of the projectile by making it bounce, you know it, on the racket. Otherwise, the ball will fall into the void and the player will lose credit. The game was a success, but Steve Wozniak would admit, years later, that his friend Steve Jobs cheated him by giving him 375 dollars when the contract signed by Jobs, without his knowledge, was 5 000 dollars. However, it was Breakout that gave Arkanoid acclaim ten years later.
Of men and bricks
In the mid-1980s, Taito’s management decided to do a brick-buster and looked for a way to make the project a success. To get the best game, it sets up a competition between employees who have, as a bonus, a nice bonus and the marketing of the game. While taking the concept of Breakout, the latter develops a universe (the racket is replaced by a paddle called Vaus) and combines a series of bonuses to help the player. During the game, by breaking some bricks, objects will fall on the screen and the user can use different effects: increase the paddle, more balls, balls that stick to the paddle and even activate the laser shots! But the arcade terminal is obligatory, Taito is also there to pocket the maximum coins and the challenge is hardened by the presence of more resistant or even completely indestructible bricks. To create this project, the Japanese designers were inspired by the movie Tron for its futuristic aesthetics and pushed the technical vice to create 3D models converted to 2D elements. Upon release, Arkanoid was such a phenomenon that it became the highest-grossing game of 1987 – and the highest-grossing conversion in the United States. In short, a commercial card that has become a classic.
Revamping a 35-year-old concept
Based in Paris, the Pastagames studio is famous for its quality products (Rayman Legends, Rayman Mini, Pix’n Love Rush, Pix the Cat, Pang Adventures, etc.) Royale in 2019. But what to expect? Like the original, it all starts when the Arkanoi ship is attacked. Managing to eject himself, the small Vaus plane is unfortunately imprisoned in a parallel dimension and only has the courage to avoid sinking into an interstellar void. To regain their freedom, the crew must destroy the “walls of space”, that is, walls of space to reach the evil creature, Doh, responsible for the destruction of the Arkanoid mothership. If the oldest will be happy to find the original – immediately available between the different game modes – the curious will see what makes the strength of this edition of 2022: the Battle Royale!
Not surprisingly, Arkanoid Eternal Battle uses the clichés of the game of 1986. So it’s always a question of a small container, the Vaus, located at the bottom of the screen and a crazy ball that bounces the bricks at the top of the screen. The mechanics of the game are natural and the room for development, very large, allows you to take advantage of the different ideas of the designers of Pastagames. Artistically, the studio is delighted by pushing the player into a successful electro-futuristic universe. The music in the menu is very catchy and the game is full of visual details: streaks of light, strobe flashes, vibrations, graphic artifacts, colors that light up the screen… no doubt, the immersion is total! The interface is also nice and makes it easy to switch from one mode to another.
Alone in front of the world
The Battle Royale mode is undoubtedly the one that holds the attention because it allows you to face 24 players simultaneously who all have one and the same goal: to survive! The principle is simple: you go from table to table and every mistake causes you to lose places in the ranking, which is shown in real time. Doh takes care of eliminating the laggards, the goal is just to get the best place. If you manage to stay among the last participants, you get the right to face Doh in an epic duel where the boss does not give any gifts (laser destruction, etc.). During the games, it is possible to stop your direct competitors by sending them power-ups (visual changes, Vaus reduction, sudden speed increase, etc.) through the buttons of side of the controller. To punctuate the games, the developers put together different types of bricks: those that destroy nearby blocks, those that change the ball into an antimatter ball or even those that increase their values. Items currently offer a dozen effects (speed reduction, bullet piercing, sticky Vaus, extra life, next level, etc.). It is even possible to “dash” to quickly move your ship from one direction to another. Arkanoid retains its original essence, but is enhanced with this addictive modern interpretation. And in addition, it is crossplay, which allows you to play with users of other media.
DOH, and not OH!
Visionary and well thought out, Arkanoid Eternal Battle offers a solitary mode called Neo as well as multiplayer for up to 4 players (with the choice of the number of rounds and adding of one or more AI-controlled players if necessary). As shown above, the room for improvement is huge and the frustration of the first parts will quickly disappear once you measure the different mechanics and the speed of Vaus. The small ship will speed up its movements when one of the directions is pressed and the sensitivity of the controls can be configured in the options. Arkanoid Eternal Battle is not a huge game, but it does what it is expected to do. Battle Royale, when there are people (because it’s not often), is very addictive and multiplayer in this type of game is always effective. In short, everything is fine! Now the game must be recognized for everyone who competes online.
- A successful artistic direction
- Music tone
- The new mechanic
- Single player, multiplayer and online modes
- Respectful of the original work
- The last fight against Doh
- Anecdotal rewards (skins to adorn)
- We would have liked more musical themes
- Visual disturbances related to elements appearing in the middle of the game
To stretch the joints! Very respectful of last year’s hit, Arkanoid Eternal Battle is decorated with a successful electro look and new mechanics that will delight fans of the genre. The unrestricted brick breaker, Pastagames title has the good idea to integrate a unique Battle Royale mode, but also a single or multiplayer mode for long winter nights. If the content becomes more generous – if only in terms of rewards – the room for improvement is so that we return to it often to improve our reflexes. A great little game just waiting for a big community to give Battle Royale its full meaning.
Give your opinion on the game!