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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!