Ricochet Lost Worlds
| Ricochet Lost Worlds

If mobile phone games are to be believed, then the art of bouncing a ball into a brick wall, destroying blocks as you go, is someday going to be very important.

You'll have to be patient, though. In fact, if Ricochet Lost Worlds is anything to go by, you'll have to wait until we've discovered other worlds and the technology required to build a spaceship / hovercraft that sports a giant paddle on its front bumper.

For this unwieldy-looking craft will be the tool of your trade if you're a block basher in the sci-fi future, and you'll need to be at a zen-like one with it if you're to succeed.

Ahead of you lie 80 levels that need to be cleared of the brick-like menaces to society. And rather than go at them with a big gun, demolition ball, or high explosives, you have to make do with bouncing an ion sphere (a giant ball bearing to the rest of us) at them.

Hit a block with the sphere and it'll disintegrate, clearing the way for you to pound at the ones behind.

If it all sounds very familiar, that's because it's an idea borrowed from Breakout, one of those games that, along with Space Invaders and Pong, is a bona fide classic. We've seen a brace of versions of the game in the past year or so (and some, like Block Breaker Deluxe, are better than others).

In Ricochet Lost Worlds the concept has been dragged kicking (if not screaming, then maybe grumbling slightly) into the 21st century.

The game is set on four different worlds, each of which is reminiscent of a lost or mythical society (an Atlantis-like Sunken City starts things off, before moving on to the centre of the earth, a Mayan-influenced lump of rock, and so-on).

The world you're on makes little difference to the gameplay though. Rather, as you progress through the levels you discover new power-ups for your destructive delight as well as sneaky new types of block.

It's the power-ups that are most entertaining and, before long, you'll find yourself with a safety net to catch spheres that you miss, laser guns fitted to your craft to shoot blocks down, and the ability to play with three or four spheres at once.

All very good. In theory.

It's less impressive in reality because the speed and smoothness of the sphere's movement is such that it looks as though the game's animation is of the stop-motion variety.

Also, because your average mobile phone isn't possessed of massive computing power, the physics of the sphere are limited. This means that there are about eight axis the sphere moves along after bouncing off your paddle.

This may not sound like a huge fault; after all, the sphere does bounce around quite smartly when ricocheting around the blocks at the top of the screen.

But it does mean that the paths that the sphere takes around the screen are a bit too repetitive. Also, given the small playing area and location of destruction-proof blocks, you can easily find yourself spending several minutes with just one block left to get rid of, aimlessly bouncing the sphere around the screen.

If the ball moved faster without power-ups and the levels were more suitable for the small screen (it's a conversion of a Windows PC game), Ricochet Lost Worlds could have been excellent.

But as it is, it's merely alright. It's not bad, certainly. But it's not as satisfying a line of work as you might think. Looks like it's back to the careers guidance office.

Ricochet Lost Worlds

Fun but flawed, it's a attempt at injecting something new into a game that's already maximised its potential