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Delicious Block-Breaking Games

August 21, 2011

Wizorb is a Breakout-style game (aka block kuzushi in Japan), a genre that was born with the original Breakout game by Atari in 1976. During the development of Wizorb, I’ve played some very well known Breakout clones such as Arkanoid, but I’ve also discovered a few very cool obscure titles like Ghox. So, I thought that it’d be interesting to post about some of these Breakout clones.

Arkanoid (Arcade, 1986)

    

Probably the most famous game of the genre. It might be a Breakout clone but it definitely surpassed the original game with the incorporation of sophisticated game mechanics, perfect controls, and a cool sci-fi theme. The NES version is pretty good too and has its own “Vaus” controller.

Devil’s Crush (TurboGrafx-16, 1990)

    

This is obviously not a Breakout clone, but it’s my favourite pinball video game of all time. Devil’s Crush is also the game that motivated me most to make Wizorb. I played it a lot when it came out on the Virtual Console in 2007.

Block Block (Arcade, 1991)

    

A straightforward fantasy-themed Breakout clone by Capcom. Its gameplay is somewhat similar to Arkanoid but incorporates some elements of pinball games (like bumpers). The game was part of Capcom Classics Collection Volume 2 released in 2006 on PS2. Unfortunately, the controls were poorly ported, thus making the game nearly unplayable.

Ghox (Arcade, 1991)

    

I had never heard of Ghox before DrDerekDoctors told me about it in a thread on TIGForums. Even though I’ve discovered it only late during the development of Wizorb, they share some similarities: both games blend the Breakout genre with a fantasy theme. Ghox features huge bosses, branching paths, a 2-player coop mode and a crazy bomb power-up (the ball explodes into a dozen balls). Another particularity of this Breakout clone is that you can move your paddle in 8 directions within an area at the bottom of the screen.

Devilish (Sega Genesis, 1992)

    

The story of Devilish is about a prince and a princess who were transformed into stone paddles by a demon. Although Devilish is a lot similar to Ghox, it features a unique offensive/defensive paddle system. When playing the game alone you can move the red paddle anywhere on the screen in order to push the ball farther up while moving the blue paddle at the bottom of the screen to prevent the ball from going off-screen. Devilish also features vertical and horizontal scrolling levels. A remake of Devilish was released on Nintendo DS in 2007 (which I haven’t played), but unfortunately it got poor reviews.

Firestriker (SNES, 1994)

    

A lot like Devilish, Firestriker lets you control two characters: one for offense using the d-pad and one for defence using L & R. This time though, your characters aren’t paddles but knights and wizards whom can strike the ball to attack enemies and blocks, but they can also take damage when hit by enemies or projectiles. The game supports 2 simultaneous players and features a neat world map to navigate in-between levels. However, the visuals look a bit rough compared to Devilish and Ghox.

Kirby’s Block Ball (Game Boy, 1996)

         

A charming Breakout clone by Nintendo starring Kirby. The game features several bosses, multiple paddles, a world map and some cool mini-games. Kirby’s Block Ball has a slow pacing thus making it easier and maybe more accessible than most Breakout clones.

Shatter (PS3, 2009)

A super polished Breakout clone with an innovative game mechanic that lets the player push and pull the ball and items inside the level. Shatter is a really solid update of the genre and is available on PSN and PC.

And there are many more that I’d wish to try, but time doesn’t allow it these days… I will post more news about Wizorb very soon, so stay tuned!

19 comments

  1. Never heard of Ghox, looks cool!
    Also may check out Shatter too.
    Waiting for more Wizorb news!


  2. Nice examples, try this one out also:

    http://www.alphabounce.com/

    There’s a DSiWare version also


  3. Wow, j’connaissais pas la plupart de ces jeux!! pourtant ils ont l’air bon!!


  4. Game design research is always so fun.


  5. When Puzzle Quest came out, I thought, “What else would be a killer retro-combo with RPGs?” and thought “Pinball!” So I’m ecstatic to watch your game come to life, since I never pursued the idea. =)

    I love digging through old games on disparate platforms, and seeing the innovative threads that bind them together, so thanks for that post. I’m sure this came up in your research as well as mine, but it’s worth mentioning: Pinball Quest!


  6. Drop everything and play PC Breakquest from 2004 (ignore all other versions – they suck). Widely considered one of the best.
    http://www.fun-motion.com/physics-games/breakquest
    Only game I know of that used sub-pixel rendering:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20071215100649/http://www.nurium.com/phpBB01/viewtopic.php?t=49


  7. […] by Devil’s Crush and other delightful titles, Wizorb is a block-breaker game with a fantasy theme. Fun as no-frills Breakout gameplay can be, […]


  8. […] an updated take on the classic ball-bouncing dynamic of Breakout, combined with magic, monsters, bosses and an actual […]


  9. I’m going to have to try some of those. I LOVED Devilish for the Genesis. I still play the Level 1 theme song on my Zune.


  10. […] be released in a month or so” for Windows. Moreover check out this neat article about Delicious Block-Breaking Games by Jonathan Lavigne (one of the creators of Wizorb who also developed the action platformer Ninja […]


  11. You forgot about DXBall!!! The best breakout clone ever!!! DXBall 2 was even more awesome!


  12. Thunder and Lightning for the NES is worth checking out as far as block kuzushi games are concerned.


  13. @Bob: I’ve read about DXBall but I haven’t played it. I’ll definitely try it if I work on a sequel for Wizorb.

    @Travis: Yeah, Thunder and Lightning is a cool game. Only played it a little bit but I liked the idea of having a character as the paddle. Graphics are simple but well made and the music is pretty catchy too.


  14. No list of brick breakers is complete without the almighty BreakQuest.

    You should also check out Nervous Brickdown on the DS, and Anodia on iOS – both of which take the same “every level is unique” approach that BreakQuest took.

    And to toot my own horn, you might like to check out my own breakeroids on iOS, which is what you would get if you put two well-known classic arcade games in a blender.

    This is also the part where I once again demand Wizorb for iOS 😛


  15. Wow… Ghox looks absolutely delicious! Must check this one out once I’m done with Wizorb.

    Inspired by this article, I did some digging-up of my own, and look what I found! Gunbarich by Psikyo – a breakout style game with pinball paddles. And unique characters, of course. The developers really did a good job of breathing new life into an old genre. Check out this YouTube video:

    Interesting to note that both Toaplan (developers of Ghox) and Psikyo are shoot-em-up specialists.


  16. That’s a really interesting blend. The graphics are nice too. Thanks for sharing this! And yeah, Psikyo made awesome games. They developed some great Dreamcast games as well (like the excellent Cannon Spike, published by Capcom)! Too bad they seem to be out of business now (or if not, they don’t seem to develop games anymore) ;_;.


  17. […] for Wizorb and it sounded like a reasonable project to tackle for a first game. You can read his blog post on his blog detailing his inspirations for […]


  18. […] for Wizorb and it sounded like a reasonable project to tackle for a first game. You can read his blog post on his blog detailing his inspirations for […]


  19. Can I play these games ?



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