If you've never played Breakout, or one of its many clones, you might as well say you've never heard of the Beatles, watched Star Wars, played on a pinball machine or eaten a banana.
Breakout is just one of those games that has been around for decades. Its simplicity and addictiveness places it alongside Tetris and Bubble Bobble.
What do you mean you haven't played those, either?
Anyway, Breakout. It's a remarkably straightforward game, involving little more than a bat that moves left and right, a ball and a wall of destructible bricks (some of which release power-ups) against which you bounce the ball until none remain.
Looking at Brick Breaker Revolution, it really doesn't appear to have messed around with the core ball with a bat dynamic. And that's a good thing. Each level in the game therefore gives you an assortment of blocks to bash away with the ball. As you progress onwards (or upwards in the Revolution mode), these get more difficult, with greater numbers of rock and metal bricks (which require several hits to destroy) present.
The power-up items are what really defines the game, however. These pop out of blocks you strike, or just drop from the sky randomly. There are 20 in total – most good, but there are some evil versions which are best avoided (Fast Ball and Small Paddle, come to mind).
On the good side, there are some great items. The Grenade power-up attaches itself to your ball until to press '5' or fire to drop it. It then explodes, dispersing all the blocks caught in the blast.
Unstoppable, meanwhile, turns your ball into a flaming missile that ploughs through blocks instead of bouncing off them, whereas the Laser enables you to fire a powerful destructive beam at the blocks for a few seconds, and the Nuke, bless it, simply blows all the bricks left on the level into vapour, thereby granting you a free pass to the next screen.
The selection is impressive, and they appear regularly, so you're seldom left just repeatedly bouncing ball into brick – heart-stopping, split-second scoots to grab power-ups then reach the ball in time are thankfully numerous.
Of the four play modes on offer, Revolution is by far the best. It introduces a whole new aspect in the form of a block with a key in it. Once this block is smashed, a second paddle appears at the top of the screen. Whack the ball up and out of the top of the screen, and you seamlessly move up to the next level above. If you lose the ball, instead of losing a life you simply drop down to the previous stage.
As if that weren't enough, Revolution mode also has Space Invader and Snake themed boss battles, where you must kill the moving brick boss to progress.
The other modes include Time Attack (where you see how far you can get within a time limit) and Infinite mode, which delivers limitless randomly generated levels to play through for high-scores.
As impressive as all these modes is the game's audio/visual style. It's colourful and changeable, while the tunes are amongst the best we've heard on any mobile game. The trance-like beats are similar to top PSP game Lumines, in fact, and perfectly suited to the hypnotic action.
It's an old concept brought right up to date, then, and we're delighted – not to mention impressed – to see one of our favourite games so masterfully remade to make it even more enjoyable. Like most Breakout clones, Brick Breaker Revolution is a skillful action game, but one that plays and looks cooler than ever.