Block Breaker Deluxe

Let's be honest: an iPod isn't a gaming device. It's a music device that's had games put on it. There's a big difference, particularly when it comes to controls.

In our experience, action titles that require fast, four-way movement simply don't work well on iPod. But those which involve rotating, or just moving from side to side, work very well. With that in mind, a version of Breakout should prosper.

Thankfully, Block Breaker Deluxe does. It's a conversion of Gameloft's excellent mobile game, with considerably tarted-up graphics and a bunch of new features to take advantage of the hugely increased file size.

You know the basic idea, though: move a bat along the bottom of the screen and hit a ball at a bunch of bricks to destroy them. Of course, it soon becomes much less simple than that, with a host of different blocks to break, and a wealth of power-ups to help you.

This new iPod version offers more than 50 levels spread across several locations. Wrapped around it is a storyline of sorts, which sees you rising through the underground Block Breaker scene (don't laugh), taking on bosses and winning prizes as you go.

The controls are simple – rotate your iPod's touch-wheel to move the bat left and right, and press the centre button to launch balls. But of course, once you start nabbing power-ups and encountering different types of bricks, the challenge becomes harder and more rewarding at the same time.

Our favourite is the way you can get several multi-ball power-ups one after another, ending up with eight or more balls zipping round the screen at once. Although the lasers are pretty useful, too.

The inclusion of boss battles is also a neat touch, bringing a shoot-'em-up dynamic to the gameplay. And they're tough – you'll need your wits about you to beat them.

It's well presented, with polished menus and stylish visuals. The controls work well, after a ten-minute period of adjustment on our part (i.e. we kept flubbering the bat off to the side with too-strong scrolling). You can alter the touch-wheel sensitivity via the game's Options menu, which helps.

And here's the cool part: there's a level designer, too. But you have to play through the game to unlock it in the shop. Ah, yes, the shop – it's a place where you can buy upgrades for your bat and balls, see.

All in all, there's more depth to Block Breaker Deluxe than you might expect from a Breakout clone. So if you're looking for a new fix of iPod gaming fun, rest assured this is marvellous.

Block Breaker Deluxe

Slick and fun Breakout game with plenty of depth