You have probably played Brick Breaker, the arcade game where you have to move a paddle to bounce a ball so that it breaks bricks. Two new games have revived that classic in new avatars, one for Android and another for iOS.
Like any super-hit arcade game, the charm of Brick Breaker lies in its simplicity—it’s what makes Angry Birds and other games so addictive. Breakfinity for iOS and Ringzz for Android each put a unique spin on this simple classic, and they’re both awesome.
When you first start playing Breakfinity, everything feels familiar. You instinctively know what to do because you’ve done it before. There’s a paddle at the bottom with a ball on it. There’s a row of bricks at the top. Tap the screen and the ball leaves the paddle. The rest is physics. Such simple gameplay is a common theme in some of the best iPhone games.
There are a few changes, though. First, the bricks are moving down towards you so you need to destroy them before they reach you.
Second, remember how in the classic brick breaker, you would try to get your ball beyond the line of the top bricks so that it could ricochet between bricks and the top of the screen? Well, that doesn’t work in Breakfinity. If you hit the top of the screen, the row of bricks disappears and new row comes in, probably in a different shape.
Third, there’s a magic brick in each row. You need to hit it three times to crack and earn it. Magic bricks can be traded in for an extra ball if you lose.
If you don’t have those bricks and still want an extra ball, Breakfinity lets you watch a quick advert to get that extra turn. It’s a nice system. You can play the free game without any adverts if you want to, but in case you want to shove some money the developer’s way, the option’s always there.
Breakfinity’s other charm lies in its art style, which reminds me of the 8-bit retro angular graphics in Ridiculous Fishing. Plus, the background wallpaper changes with each row and does a wonderful job of being a contrast for the ball while still looking better than a plain colour. Even the sound effects are retro-style, providing a wonderful rhythm with each ping off a wall and crash of a brick.
As you break more rows, Breakfinity gets harder and throws a few power-ups your way, like lasers to shoot down bricks or making your paddle larger. Use them wisely!
Download: Breakfinity for iOS (free, universal)
Ringgz is not as intuitive as Breakfinity, but it makes up for that with the sheer fun factor. You won’t know what to do when you first start Ringgz, so it’s best to go over the rules a bit.
In this game, the bricks are three concentric circles and your ball starts in the centre. Tap once on the screen and physics take over. Once you hit a brick, it will disappear. Hit all the bricks in a circle and a new ring forms on the outer circle. This will keep going till your ball mistakenly escapes from the rings into oblivion. Three chances and it’s game over.
So how do you make sure the ball stays inside? Why, you move the bricks! That’s right, no paddle here, the bricks themselves are your ricochet points. So move clockwise or anticlockwise to keep the ball in play. It can get a bit disorienting because the perspective shown to you also moves the ball’s trajectory. And there’s a catch: a meter on the right tracks how much you are moving the circles and if it “overheats”, the circles will be locked, so use this wisely!
As with most Brick Breaker clones, there are some power-ups involved. For starters, coloured bricks should be your priority. Hitting those adds them to a vault, and if you get four of them, you earn a points multiplier. And once in a while, you’ll see a golden brick. Hit that and surprises lie in wait, like multiple balls! Plus you can earn more points by pulling off combo moves too.
The simple colour contrast in Ringgz is enough to make it attractive, but the background score is what really sells it. It’s uptempo electronica, the kind that makes the game feel faster than it is at times. I highly recommend putting on your headphones and cranking up the volume. It’s as good as some of the best Android games.
The free version of Ringgz might just be good enough for you, but you will have to live with in-game advertising. Unlocking the full game for $2 removes these ads and also provides two gameplay modes. The Endless Mode removes a ball limit; the catch is, you can always get one more turn by risking losing half your points. And then there’s Time Trial Mode, where you need to break bricks fast enough to reach the next time-based checkpoint or it’s game over.
Totally worth it, if you ask me, especially because the game has high replayability.
Download: Ringgz for Android (Free) [No Longer Available]
Have you got any favourite spiritual successor’s to the original Brick Breaker? Or is the original still the best? Let us know what you think in the comments, below.