I guess it was only a matter of time before I looked at a Breakout/Arkanoid-style game on the Switch. These things are everywhere from internet browsers to mobile devices to video game consoles. At some point in your life you have either played one of these games or at least knew about the existence of Breakout. It’s a timeless fad that casual gamers like to kill time with and that developers like to ape to make something quick and easy. Glaive: Brick Breaker is the latest in a long line of bat ‘n ball games and it’s just as unremarkable as the rest of them.
These titles have never had any notability for looking amazing but the presentation in Glaive: Brick Breaker could have been a lot better than what we see here. There is no reason for a game of this genre to run at thirty frames per second on a modern day console. The backdrop looks nice but it would have been nicer if there was more of them. The levels are repetitive enough as it is.
There is surprisingly a nice variety of background music in the game; some are even songs with lyrics. I imagine they could be found on a public domain website somewhere but they are nevertheless fine inclusions in a game with otherwise unspectacular sound design. There’s only so much appeal the sound of a ball bouncing off of walls could offer.
If you have never played a Breakout/Arkanoid clone before…How? Anyway, you control a paddle that has to hit a ball as it constantly moves across the screen. Hit the bricks onscreen with the ball to make them go away and when they’re all gone, you get to move on to the next level. Glaive: Brick Breaker carries this tradition in the most straightforward way possible, barring a couple things that make the casual play more tedious than it should be.
First of all, the collision between the ball and paddle feels unpolished. The ball doesn’t bounce off of your padde naturally; the angle is constantly manipulated depending on which side of the paddle the ball hits. If the ball is coming from the right and hits the left side of the paddle for example, it will tilt further to widen its horizontal direction. If it were to hit the right side of the paddle, it would tilt more upward. I guess the developers tried to give a greater sense of control but all this does is disrupt the pacing of the game. And if you grab power-ups that slow the paddle down or speed the ball up, forget about it; you lost a life.
Power-ups that come from some of the bricks tend to either be slight benefits or hindrances. The best is the missile but they apparently don’t destroy walls. Walls and black bricks that take three or more hits to destroy only seem to be here to make levels overstay their welcome. The fun of brick-breaking games is obviously to break bricks. If you’re not doing that then the purpose of the game is waned.
Well, I guess it’s not the worst thing you could have bought for a suitable Breakout substitute. However, there is so much more you could buy with the $9.99 this game costs. Plenty of games on the Switch deserve the money a lot more than a game that’s simply phoning it in.
Review copy provided by Blue Sunset Games