BreakQuest: Extra Evolution was developed and published by Beatshapers and licensed by Nurium Games. It was released for the PS3, PSP and PS Vita for $3.99 on October 16, 2012. A copy of the game was provided for review purposes.
Beatshapers brings us a sequel to Nurium Games’ break-out homage BreakQuest. Beatshapers previously ported the original game as a PlayStation Mini in 2010. The success of BreakQuest spurred the inspiration for a sequel a year later. BreakQuest: Extra Evolution was developed by incorporating the spirit of the original game with a new vision.
At its core, BreakQuest: Extra Evolution is a breakout game; break the bricks by bouncing the ball off the shuttle. There are 100 levels, ten bosses, a slew of power-ups and variant shuttles to fling your projectile about the board. Players can also control the ball through the use of energy shields and the Gravitor, which allows for a bit of thrust to change trajectory.
Here’s what We Liked:
Music: To the ear’s delight, The SandS band whistles, chirps and bleeps a solid 8-bit soundtrack. There is a synergy between the music and game sound as well. At times, making the discordant sound created by smashing into blocks and bumpers felt like it was accompanying the music. The chip-tunes also enhances the vivid art contained in levels.
Visuals: Staring into the levels in BreakQuest: Extra Evolution is mesmerizing. Deceivingly simpler, the vibrant color and design of the boards in BreakQuest: Extra Evolution at times hearken back to the classic arcade cabinets of the late 70’s and early 80’s. The art of the Arkanoid, Tempest and Centipede pop into mind, conjuring hours spent (see also: wasted) in roller-skating rinks, bowling alleys and pool halls. This nostalgia fuels the desire to clear the next level, and then the next. Though there is a classic game influence, BreakQuest: Extra Evolution also offers some great eye candy. Sometimes whimsical, oft times entrancing, the art and level design were at times derivative of a mandala.
Gameplay: While the gameplay is not groundbreaking, it is accessible. Adding the Gravitor (thrust) and energy shields allows the player more time to enjoy the variety of power-ups. It is possible to play in a traditional break-out manner, bouncing the ball on the shuttle alone. The need to control the velocity and direction of the ball’s path is just too tempting. The addition of the shuttle power-ups (and power-downs) takes a classic vanilla concept and adds just enough chocolate and sprinkles.
Here’s what We Didn’t Like
Scoring System: If there was a method to judge how scores are calculated, it was not apparent. Players are encouraged to gain a high score, but no explanation as to how. Is it based on time? Perhaps, though some levels are blazed through with lower scores than levels that were meandered through. More points for creative hits? Hard to say.
In-Game Achievements: PlayStation Minis do not have Trophies. But to tease with In-Game Achievements is just cruel.
Boss Fights: Boss Fights are actually a blast, what is disappointing is only being able to use the basic shuttle during these levels. New shuttles are earned by finishing previous stages and the bosses of those stages. Earning upgraded items from fallen bosses only to use those items against other bosses is a hallmark of gaming.
BreakOuest: Extra Evolution is best experienced for the handheld: PS Vita or PSP. It does not bowl one over with action; in fact it encourages a slow, meditative approach to a classic game-style. The addition of trophies would be a tremendous benefit for all minis and BreakQuest: Extra Evolution is no exception. Beatshapers have improved an already enjoyable game. It would be interesting to see an original IP from this developer.
Score: Buy It!