Who remembers the original Arkanoid? Alongside Asteroids, Tetris, and Space Invaders, Arkanoid (a more sophisticated version of Breakout) was one of the defining titles of the dawn of video games. You may not recognize the name itself, but you’d most certainly recognize the gameplay – blocks that are broken by a bouncing ball and paddle.
Decades after its debut, the Breakout genre still lives on in the form of clones. Available on multiple platforms – including PCs, mobile devices, and the web – these clones innovate and expand on the gameplay of the original Breakout to deliver games that are more fun and compelling. Itching to play some Breakout? Give these successors a try.
ArkanoidX [Android] [Free] [No Longer Available]
ArkanoidX is a faithful Android recreation of the original Arkanoid that adds in a few extra bells and whistles to further improve the gameplay. First released back in August 2012, ArkanoidX continues to receive updates even ’til this day. And best of all, it’s completely free in price and free from ads.
There’s a simplicity to ArkanoidX’s graphics that hearkens back to its roots, yet just enough modernity to relieve the archaic retro feel that you might get from lesser quality Breakout clones. The controls are smooth and the gameplay just feels right. You can even switch between touch or tilt-based controls.
What extra features are there? There are 4 different game modes, 170+ different levels, multiple game speeds (for varying degrees of challenge), and 20+ unique powerups. That’s a lot of value for a game that costs nothing.
Beat Ball 2 [Windows] [$10]
Beat Ball 2 is a PC game that feels and plays like an actual retro game. The graphics, the sounds, even the title – all of it pays homage to the 70s-era group of video games to which Breakout belonged. It was last updated in 2012, but there are plenty of reasons to play this game today in the midst of numerous other Breakout clones.
There are 108 levels to play in Beat Ball 2, but if that isn’t enough you can always use the built-in level editor to create more. If you want to test your skills, an Internet scoreboard tracks the best performing players, both per month and overall. Games can be saved and restored later, so it’s a great game to play when you’re strapped for time.
One thing that caught my eye was that Beat Ball 2 can be played with up to 4 players, but it turns out that each player takes his turn one by one. It is NOT simultaneous multiplayer so don’t get your hopes up too high.
Beat Ball 2 is shareware, which means it is available for free for 30 days or 10 game launches, whichever comes first. After that, you’ll need to register it for $10 if you want to keep playing.
Peggle [Windows, Mac, iOS] [$10]
Peggle can be thought of as Breakout meets pinball. The premise remains the same – destroy all of the blocks on the level using a ricocheting ball – but some of the gameplay mechanics have been tweaked.
You have a limited number of balls to clear the level and if you run out of balls, you have to start over. There are multiple levels to play through and multiple powerups to gain. There are plenty of game modes, too, such as Adventure mode, Quick Play mode, and Duel mode. All of this combines to form a game that’s simple, fun, unique, and replayable.
Note: Peggle was once available for Android but it appears that the Android version was removed after EA bought out PopCap Games. At this time, there is no official way to obtain Peggle for Android.
Wizorb [Windows, Mac, Linux] [$3]
Wizorb is perhaps the most impressive Breakout-inspired game in the history of Breakout clones. That’s a tall claim to make – and I’d gladly be proven wrong if an even better game exists out there – but take one look at the Wizorb trailer above and I guarantee you’ll be at least somewhat surprised.
The premise of Wizorb is simple: take the ball-and-paddle gameplay of Breakout and throw in some RPG elements. It may sound weird at first, but it quickly becomes apparent that this mashup of arcade and RPG is actually quite clever. Instead of breaking blocks, the ball damages enemies that move around the screen. Powerups exist in the form of potions, coins, and spells.
Are you a fan of Breakout clones? Which ones do you play? Do you prefer mobile versions or desktop versions? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
Image Credits: Tilemahos Efthimiadis Via Flickr