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It's Time To Breakout
Who doesn’t like Breakout games? For those who don't know, those are the kind where you take a ball and bounce it around a controlled area to break apart specific objects in order to proceed to the next level. I’m sure every PC gamer has experienced a Breakout game at some point in their interactive-entertainment-lifetime, but that doesn’t mean they’re all good. One of the best was the PC remake of Arkanoid by Moraff, which was a really old-school game that even sported two-player co-op. Well, Breakout games have never become stale in the world of casual gaming and Reflexive has one of their own called Ricochet Infinity.
Ricochet Infinity aims to procure a new plateau of excellence in the over-crowded world of brick-breakingt games, by introducing intuitive levels and lots of various gameplay options to keep the masses satisfied with fun. Reflexive really went over and beyond to create a lasting flavor of fun within the Breakout genre and Ricochet Infinity is easily one of the best.
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In the case of Ricochet Infinity, it certainly doesn’t do for the genre what BattleSwarm did for the MMO strategy/shooter genre. Instead, the game takes the tried and tested mechanics that worked in the past and build upon that. There’s nothing terribly original about the methods used for Ricochet Infinity, as there are a number of power-ups, ships, balls and stages with various effects in place, however none of it ventures far from many other mechanics used in recent remakes of Arkanoid. A multiplayer feature is in place for those who have a dual-mouse, although that’s nothing all too new for a game like this.
Instead, Ricochet Infinity focuses entirely on polishing said mechanics and ensuring that what made the genre popular is what’s capitalized within the execution of the gameplay. In other words, you won’t find anything too out of the ordinary or any features that extend beyond the genre itself, but what is there is handled with near perfection.
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Graphics And Sound
Visually, gamers shouldn’t go in expecting Crysis or Halo: Reach. Ricochet Infinity is a casual title from Reflexive and ultimately is designed to appeal to the casual arcade gamer. With that said, the visuals are actually about a step above the standard casual title from the Reflexive line-up, although don’t expect anything along the lines of Shadowgrounds or Sigma Team’s Alien Shooter: Vengeance.
When it comes to the audio the music is about what one might expect from an industrially charged, space-oriented Breakout game. There’s lots of metal clanging and trance beats that fuel the musical score and I would be wrong if I said that the soundtrack wasn't fitting for the atmosphere presented in Ricochet Infinity.
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Where the game lacks in its innovation to really broaden the genre of Breakout games, Ricochet Infinity instead totally throws itself into having some of the most fun, high-octane levels and power-ups available in an arcade game of this kind.
The one thing that really stands out is just how intense some of the stages become based on the power-ups. Players will have to do more than just bounce the ball around, as there’s a feature that includes being able to choose various balls and ships as you unlock them throughout the progress of the game. The ships change various stats that allow for players to utilize various specials during the game and it’s a feature that’s quite cool when it’s activated.
The power-ups are also really awesome in the game given that the blocks themselves – in the later levels – require more than just ricocheting the ball around to dispatch them. Some of the power-ups include electro-magnetic pulse beams, rapid fire machine guns, shield extenders, rotating ball lasers, shrink rays, probe cutters and more. I was thoroughly impressed with how fast-paced and intense the gameplay became and that was truly one of the main highlights of Ricochet Infinity.
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As mentioned in the previous section, not all the blocks on every stage can be disassembled simply by ricocheting the ball off them. This adds an extra layer of strategy to the way in which players handle the ball in Ricochet Infinity, and I really liked that. The stage designs also just didn’t contain original ideas for breaking the blocks apart, they also featured gimmick-blocks, such as rocket-activated blocks or indestructible bricks that could only be dissolved with an acid power-up. Things like this kept Ricochet Infinity fresh and fun and made it feel like a game that was designed to keep players on their toes rather than just having a bevy selection of stages available for the sake of doing so.
Another thing about the level designs is that there are some truly original stages in this game that are quite innovative, such as a car and truck traveling across space that must be broken to pieces, or a helicopter with two functioning “blades" that whir around at hypnotic speeds. Some of these levels, while still maintaining the tradition of requiring players to simply break the bricks to pieces, were at least designed with creativity in mind and it really helps in keeping the gameplay fresh and fun, especially in the later levels.
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This is probably one of the best Breakout games available on the market, short of something made for Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. Ricochet Infinity is the total package and contains enough replay value, levels, power-ups and a multiplayer feature to keep any casual gamer who enjoys brick-busting games busy for the next couple of months.
The difficulty and numerous planets that contain just over a handful of stages each, all with their own themes and unique level designs, makes Ricochet Infinity a good purchasing choice amongst all the other Breakout clones flooding the net. In other words, this is a game worth trying and buying.