Few arcade games have been as influential as Breakout has been since its release in 1976. Gamers of virtually every generation have been able to experience at least one of the numerous clones that it inspired.
Despite so many of these homages over the years refining and perfecting the formula that Breakout introduced, recent console games like Shatter have proven that it is still possible to teach an old dog new tricks.
Block Breaker 3 Unlimited is another such innovator, which not only manages to replicate the qualities of these classic block-breaking titles, but also introduces new ideas and concepts to the genre.
Laying a Brick
Like nearly all block-breaking games, you control a pad (located at the bottom of the screen) used to direct balls into various blocks. You move this pad - or indeed pads - via either the touchscreen controls or the iPhone’s accelerometer.
Both methods are effective, but the touchscreen controls are perhaps more intuitive for beginners and afford you more precise movement.
What separates Block Breaker 3 Unlimited from the rest of the pack is the sheer number of elements included in each stage. These include block-breaking staples such as power-ups, alongside switches, triggers, and even enemies.
The game's campaign mode showcases these components to great effect, since they are central to each stage’s level design.
Bricking all over the world
These elements, combined with challenging and varied block arrangements, mean that every level offers a unique test and the game rarely feels tired or stale.
Campaign levels are spread across seven different worlds, with themes such as the beach or the casino. You must defeat a rival in each of the worlds (including a thinly disguised Lady Gaga), with completion reliant on your overcoming a boss at the end.
You unlock additional modes such as Survival and Endless mode by collecting stars: in typical iOS fashion, you are awarded a three-star rating according to your score.
Bric-a-bracBrick Breaker 3 Unlimited's gameplay is fleshed out with polished menus, vibrant visuals, and an electro-inspired soundtrack, which features a variety of tunes that sound suspiciously like recent chart hits.
There are, however, one or two minor drawbacks to Gameloft's Breakout clone. In addition to the power-ups and items that can be won through normal play, extra boosts can be bought via in-app purchases.
Although it is perfectly possible to enjoy the game without forking out a penny, a prompt will appear whenever you fail a stage asking if you are stuck and inviting you to buy the equivalent of gaming steroids.
This interruption, along with the slightly slow loading times, is a small irritation, but not enough to detract seriously from the overall excellent package. Block Breaker 3 Unlimited manages to improve on a classic formula with a host of enhancements and innovations that ensure it’s almost the perfect block-breaking game.