October 24th, 2012 | By Charles Ferrendelli
Developer Beatshapers, the minds behind games such as Canabalt, BreakQuest, and StarDrone, have released their newest title, BreakQuest: Extra Evolution, exclusively as a PlayStation Mini. An advanced sequel to BreakQuest, the unique physics brick breaking game that launched together with PlayStation Minis back in 2009, Extra Evolution captures everything that made BreakQuest great while fixing the problems that plagued the first entry in the series.
BreakQuest, is a brick breaking game where you control a paddle that is moved from left to right in a pong-like fashion. The goal is to keep eliminating blocks by hitting them with a ball that you must prevent from getting past you at the bottom of the screen. It’s similar to Breakout, except BreakQuest reinvents the brick breaker formula and adds some flair on top to boot.
What’s unique about BreakQuest that separates itself from other games in the genre is the use of physics incorporated into the game. One of the first levels I came across had tire-like objects tied together by a rope that caused all kinds of unexpected results once the ball hit them. Another object I ran into was a tiny fan with a fast spinning blade that caused the ball to shoot in a random direction whenever it hit it. It makes for some very unsuspecting gameplay and doesn’t just rely on speed to catch you off guard.
Another big surprise for me was how much BreakQuest: Extra Evolution has changed graphically from BreakQuest. If you were to look at these games side by side you wouldn’t even assume that they were from the same series. While I enjoyed the art style of the previous BreakQuest, Extra Evolution seriously steps it up a notch. While the game was bright and colorful beforehand, it looks completely different as they’ve gone for a much blockier abstract look that’s a nice refresh for fans of the previous entry as it also touts some very cleverly designed levels.
While innovative level design is great, it can only work with good controls. The first BreakQuest was plagued by control issues as the paddle at times just didn’t feel right. You would either go too slow or too fast depending on which control scheme you were using, making the game difficult and not as much fun to play. Thankfully Beatshapers has addressed these problems making Extra Evolution a much smoother experience.
BreakQuest comes packed with a fair amount of content for its $3.99 price point. The game comes with 100 levels (including boss battles) and various game mechanics that changes the way your paddle interacts with the level whether it be converting the ball to a different shape, or throwing an array of guns on your paddle. Sadly if you’re one who likes a little competition, you may be disappointed as BreakQuest doesn’t offer global leaderboards. Outside of this, BreakQuest is simply a fun game to play and an easy recommendation to pick it up for your PS3, Vita, or PSP.