At first glance Glaive: Brick Breaker looks just like a standard Arkanoid clone. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (Arkanaoid itself was just a clone of the original brick-breaking game Breakout after all). But does this latest addition to the genre manage to capture any of the gameplay and enjoyment of its forbearers?
If you’re somehow unfamiliar with brick-breaking games, they’re a bit like a single-player version of Pong where you try to continually deflect a bouncing ball towards the top of the screen to destroy all the coloured bricks required to complete each stage. You do so by horizontally moving a paddle across the bottom of the screen (although in this case the paddle has been grandiosely renamed as a ‘glaive’). Some bricks take multiple hits or are just indestructible obstacles, and sometimes a variety of power-ups drop towards the bottom of the screen, but otherwise that’s it. Glaive: Brick Breaker offers almost nothing new in this area and makes no efforts to hide its lack of originality.
Admittedly, the graphics are slightly brighter and shinier here than the brick-breaker games of previous decades, but this is barely an improvement. More noticeable is the grating and annoying soundtrack, which you can’t even turn off from the pause menu. The only way to do get rid of the music is to quit out to the home screen where you can turn the music on or off (there’s no sliding scale). But turning it off completely just leaves the isolated sound effects, which just feels fairly depressing.
In fact, the whole user interface of Glaive: Brick Breaker is pretty poor. It’s hard to tell which level or option you are selecting in the menus, while the icons of the various power-ups are very difficult to make out and the only to check what they are is, yes you guessed it, to quit the whole game and return to the home screen. From there you can try to memorise the various colours of the power-ups (so you’re pretty screwed if you have any kind of colour-blindness). I also encountered a couple of game-breaking bugs during my time playing it, which is very disappointing given how basic the game is.
But the biggest problems here are unfortunately to do with the gameplay. Compared to other brick-breaker games, I felt like I had very little control of the bounce of the ball unless I risked hitting it off the very edge of the paddle. And more importantly the entire game just feels slow, bland and boring. All too often you have to sit and wait while the ball lazily bounces around the top of the screen for long periods of time where you don’t interact at all. The power-ups do add a bit of variety, but as several of them are actually negative power-ups, it’s often better to avoid picking them up at all. In particular the power bar that builds up and lets you unleash a hyper mode where the ball can’t leave the screen can be more of a hindrance as it often runs out at the worst possible moment and can cause you to lose a life. Also, the potentially challenging ‘boss battles’ are misleading as they’re just standard stages where the bricks move around (but don’t actually attack you at all).
In terms of longevity Glaive: Brick Breaker does have a lot of levels and some alternative options (including a level creator and a two player mode) but nothing that will keep you coming back. Crucially, there is no form of scoring to give you the incentive to improve or leaderboards to compete against friends. High-scores, varying difficulties and time-attack modes have been a staple of games like this for years, so the lack of inclusion here feels like sheer laziness.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Glaive: Brick Breake Review
Gameplay - 4/10
Graphics - 4/10
Sound - 3/10
Replay Value - 3/10
User Review( votes)
A clone of classic brick-breaking games but without any of the charm or enjoyment.
- Lots of levels.
- Two-player mode.
- Level creator.
- Boring gameplay.
- Poor interface.
- Lack of scoring system and leaderboards.