Rotating Header Image


Review – Shatter (PC)

Shatter Site Banner

Sidhe | March 15th, 2011

I seem to be picking up a lot on Breakout clones lately.  Or maybe it’s just games that at the core are remakes of older classics I’ve been hitting a lot lately.  I suppose it’s an easy gimmick, take something people like, flashy it up and add a new gimmick or two, then throw it out into the world.  I’m not really complaining or anything but Shatter, like BIT.TRIP BEAT and Meteor, has it’s core in the game Breakout.

It adds a few gimmicks to help keep it fresh at least.

It’s kind of hard to mention the music and graphics without admitting that I am biased.  I am a total sucker these days for these style of flashy bright colored graphics with a heavy techno soundtrack.  It’s like going to a rave without all of the crowds of people and drugs.  In fact I enjoyed the soundtrack enough that I bought it and listen to it pretty regularly in a line between my BT tracks and the Portal 2 soundtrack.

The core gameplay involves clearing fields of blocks by reflecting a ball at them.  As I mentioned before, Breakout.  One interesting mechanic that has been added however is the ability to attract and repulse the ball from your paddle.  This can be used to manipulate it’s path and clear out blocks more quickly.  The push/pull mechanic also works on the little score diamonds you collect throughout the game, which can be useful for maximizing your score.  You can push a pile of chits away until a score multiplier drops then suck them all in at once.  This of course will also affect your ball so you’ll still have to be careful not to let it careen off the playing field. 

There are also several different styles of playing fields.  The horizontal and vertical oriented arenas are pretty easy to handle, the tricky one comes in the round arena.  The physics feel a bit off to me which I find makes directing the ball to be a bit tricky.  Also however the programming was designed to handle the push pull it doesn’t always work as expected on the circular stages.  I’ve found that more often one will veer the ball to the left or right  versus actually pulling the ball in the expected direction.  It can be a bit tricky to follow but it’s not something that can’t be adapted to.

There are several modes available to play, most of which are to be expected in an arcade style game, story, time attack, endless, and bonus modes.  The story mode is essentially a sequence of increasingly difficult stages with some “bosses” at the end of each world.  The bonus mode is rather interesting.  You get only 3 balls and you have to keep them going for as long as you can to rack up a high score.

There is also a coop mode available so you can play with your friends.

It’s quite a bit of fun if you like quick simpler arcade style gameplay.  There are no major flaws with the gameplay or presentation which makes for a pretty solid experience.