By: Casey Curran
At some point, everyone has either played Breakout or a game imitating it. Copycats are everywhere, usually at a budget price, which combined with the simple fun of the game makes these great to pick up and play. BreakQuest: Extra Evolution brings the tried and true formula of breaking bricks onto the Vita, though in a riskier manner. While I’d love to say this pays off, I would not recommend this take on the concept.
BreakQuest’s biggest issue is that it feels cheap. There is no weight to either the ball or the paddle, which takes all the satisfaction from ricocheting the ball to the bricks. The sound effects are nonexistent in this as well, further hurting the core presentation. While the game does have other issues as well as a few positives, when the central mechanic is this poorly done there is nothing that can save the game.
The paddle itself is also a lot more inconsistent than usual ones. Rather than the typical straight line, it gives a curved arc to bounce the ball up. This arc makes it very hard to tell where the ball will go based on the ball’s angle and the position of the paddle. This alone is bad, but beyond that the physics are also inconsistent. I would have a ball bounce right back at me at the same angle and hit the same spot without moving the paddle, yet it would bounce in a completely different direction. This made it so that the game turned into merely hitting the ball with no strategy as to trying to bounce it in the right spot.
The arenas are hit or miss. They all go for something different, such as one where the blocks imitate Space Invaders aliens. When it is at its best, BreakQuest offers some fresh ideas for a Breakout clone. Yet there are some that do not successfully offer something different, especially when it really spreads out the blocks — and unfortunately there are more duds than well-made levels in the game. I would also recommend against the unlimited balls pack as during my experience with them it sucked out any sense of challenge, which made the game significantly less fun.
Graphically the game employs a variety of different backgrounds that all look unique but feel very static. There is little if any movement in these beyond power ups dropping and balls disappearing. This culminates in a game that initially impresses visually, and then immediately bores afterwards.
BreakQuest: Extra Evolution will offer an okay distraction for a short time, but it quickly leads to boredom. The few fun levels are not worth putting up with the bland ones nor the unsatisfying mechanics to get what little enjoyment they have to offer. It feels like an unfinished game, albeit one where I could see how it could be made into something decent.