Arkanoid DS Review

Arkanoid is basically a souped-up version of Breakout, the brick-busting arcade classic that followed upon the success of Pong.  The basic idea is very simple - you must destroy all of the blocks at the top of the screen by hitting them with a ball while keeping the ball in play by hitting it with a paddle that you move back and forth across the bottom of the screen.  While Breakout featured board after board of the same brick wall, Arkanoid features 140 levels each with its own unique brick pattern.  In addition, there are sometimes bricks that must be hit more than once to be destroyed, indestructible blocks, and even moving bricks.  Some bricks will also drop power-ups when destroyed, giving you the benefit of a larger paddle, brick-busting lasers, multi-ball, and more.  The goal remains the same, though, remove all of the bricks before you lose all of your balls.

Arkanoid DS departs from both Breakout and the original Arkanoid in that you're given only one ball to complete a level, and if you let that ball drop your game is over.  Instead of providing you with multiple balls in reserve, the game places a barrier across the bottom of the screen.  If the ball hits the barrier it will bounce off of it, but the barrier can only save the ball three times.  After that you're left unprotected and if you miss and if you miss the ball it will drop and you'll lose the game.  The barrier does make it easier to progress deeper into the game as you begin each level with a fully recharged barrier.  However, the levels increase in difficulty enough to keep things challenging as you progress.  The game gives you the option of controlling the paddle with the stylus or the d-pad and either works just as well, so you can use whichever method feels more comfortable to you.

Arkanoid DS has a quirky design in that the top and bottom screen are treated as a single screen by the game.  Your paddle sits at the bottom of the touch screen while the blocks occupy the top screen.  This means that you lose sight of the ball as it transitions between the screens.  It seems that the game treats this gap as if it were part of a single larger screen because there is a slight delay between the time the ball disappears on one screen and reappears on the other.  At first this is oddly distracting, but as I spent some time with the game I was able to get used to it.

The game's main mode has you progressing through 28 'worlds' each consisting of five levels and arranged in a branching node layout.  Each world has its own theme in the form of background colors and graphics and music.  The game's soundtrack features some cool techno tracks, although the loop on some of them is too short and makes those songs sound too repetitive.  Clearing levels in this mode unlocks them for play in the game's challenge mode.  This other mode changes the goal of a level from simply destroying all of the blocks to things like clearing all bricks of a certain color within a time limit or level with a limited number of hits from your paddle.  There are also competitive modes that can be played against your DS or other players locally.  This is basically a race to clear your board first or to clear all bricks of a certain color first.  You can monitor your opponents' progress through mini-versions of their boards shown on the side of the screen and things can be made more interesting by negative power-ups that can be sent to your opponents.

Arkanoid DS is a great game for portable play.  It's simple enough to lend itself to playing in short sessions while on the go, but challenging enough to bring you back for more play.  If you can get used to playing with a gap between the screens, it's a good title to add to a permanent slot in you your DS game carry case.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 84%. Blockbusting fun that's perfect for gaming on the go.


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