There has been a lot of Breakout news in the iPhone gaming scene of late.

First, Atari's legal team started going after Breakout clones in the App Store.  Days later Atari released Super Breakout [App Store] for the iPhone, giving the platform an official version of the company's 1976 classic brick breaking game.  Just two days later Gameloft, who brought us Asphalt 4 and Real Football (Soccer) 2009, released an iPhone port of their mobile title Block Breaker Deluxe 2 [App Store].

Both of these titles are highly polished and provide a rather lavish Breakout experience.  We thought readers might appreciate a look at both to help determine where to spend their dollars.  We've prepared a back-and-forth video comparison that should convey the overall feel of both games.

Before looking at each title, a quick word about "Breakout clones."  These games and any such games made in the last 20 years are actually Arkanoid clones.  Arkanoid, released by Taito in 1986, took the Breakout formula to the next level by including various powerups and penalty items which dropped from the occasional destroyed brick as well as hugely improved graphics and more varied level layout.

Atari's Super Breakout

Straight away, Atari's Super Breakout wins the battle for the truly retro inclined, as it features a Classic mode which looks and plays like the 1976 original.  The core of the game, however, is the much more widely appealing Super mode.

Super mode offers two play scenarios: Normal and Progressive.  Both start the player off in an underwater world and move the player, via unlocked areas, through other environments such as wood, mountain, flame, etc., each with its own set of backdrops and ball effects. In Progressive mode, the bricks advance downward toward the player's paddle, Space Invaders style, while Normal mode features stationary bricks.

Gameplay is straightforward and very Arkanoid-like.  Destroy bricks by deflecting a ball with the paddle which is controlled by sliding a finger left / right along the bottom of the screen.  Powerups drop from certain brick eliminations and some bricks are indestructible.  In a bit of a twist, certain portions of the background scenery will deflect the ball when hit right.  Players can choose between the game's own soundtrack (a relaxing "new age" collection) or tracks from his or her own music library.

Super Breakout allows a photo from the iPhone's photo library to be used as the playfield backdrop.

Gameloft's Block Breaker Deluxe 2

Block Breaker Deluxe 2 is Gameloft's iPhone port of its mobile title which is available for a wide variety of platforms.  Block Breaker veers much farther afield from the basic Arkanoid formula than does Atari's offering.  All of the standard components are present--a player controlled paddle at the bottom of the screen, powerups dropping from eliminated bricks, etc.--but Block Breaker offers much more, as well.

The game is divided into eight different locales on a paradise island.  Each locale contains eight levels, the completion of which unlocks the next locale, each with its own look.  Block Breaker's onscreen action is frantic.  Once the ball starts knocking out bricks, it's basically a hail of powerups, stars, and cash sliding down the screen.  Stars and cash can be used in the island's Shop to upgrade the paddle.  A finger tap on any of these falling items as they descend adds them to your arsenal.  Some powerups are quite unusual, such as "yoyo," which tethers the ball to the paddle with an elastic string, a shield powerup that temporarily prevents the loss of a missed ball, and a finger-controller guided missile.  The entire layout of bricks can transform based on certain prize eliminations.  It's actually hard at times to keep one's eye on the ball.  Certain "boss" levels don't involve bricks at all, but require the elimination of various moving objects as can be seen in the comparison video.

The default paddle control method is a left / right swipe at the bottom of the screen, as with Super Breakout.  A Gravity Mode, accessed in the game's options, allows tilt control of the paddle.  In this mode, bricks can be arranged to a certain degree with a tilt, and when only a few bricks are left onscreen, a quick upward jab with the iPhone will "throw" the ball at the bricks.

A nice feature of Block Breaker is the support for multiplayer games.  In this mode, the one-player paddle is mirrored at the top of the screen and two opponents can battle their way through the levels on the same device.  This can also be a fun challenge for a single player engaging in a two-handed game.

Block Breaker is set to a high quality, pounding techno-esque soundtrack.

And the winner is...

Both of these titles are high quality takes on a popular formula and offer attractive visuals and enjoyable gameplay.  But Block Breaker Deluxe 2 is much "more" of a game than Super Breakout, offering more lively onscreen action, more varied and interesting powerups, and allowing for multiplayer game sessions.  That said, Block Breaker's gameplay may veer too far from the standard Arkanoid formula for some people's liking; Super Breakout is definitely the more "traditional" title.  We hope our comparison video will help in your decision making.

Fans of this genre should not overlook the various other Arkanoid clones in the App Store.  We posted a roundup of these games back in July, the best of which was Ikanoid [$0.99 App Store].

Game Details
Name: Super Breakout (v1.0) Price: $4.99 [Buy]
Developer: Atari Size: 12.7 MB
Super Breakout from Atari offers a polished take on the Arkanoid formula, taking players through multiple environments with an element theme.  True retro fans may enjoy the Classic mode that brings true 1976 Breakout gameplay.

Game Details
Name: Block Breaker Deluxe 2 (v1.0.3) Price: $4.99 [Buy]
Developer: Gameloft Size: 49.2 MB
Block Breaker Deluxe 2 takes the Arkanoid formula to the next level with a wide array of powerups and a cash system for purchasing paddle upgrades. Its onscreen action is more frantic than the typical brick breaker. Multiplayer support allows two people to compete on the same device.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Tim

    This review was actually just what I was looking for. Previously, I couldn't find a video of the gameplay for Atari's Superbreakout, thanks for providing one, along with a solid write-up!

    I'm actually still not sure which one I want to pickup, I was leaning towards Superbreakout, but Block Breaker Deluxe 2 looks entertaining.

  • Tim

    This review was actually just what I was looking for. Previously, I couldn't find a video of the gameplay for Atari's Superbreakout, thanks for providing one, along with a solid write-up!

    I'm actually still not sure which one I want to pickup, I was leaning towards Superbreakout, but Block Breaker Deluxe 2 looks entertaining.

  • http://www.blakespot.com blakespot

    @Tim: Glad to help. As you can tell from the review, I find Gameloft's offering the superior title. I enjoy Super Breakout as well, though.

  • http://www.blakespot.com blakespot

    @Tim: Glad to help. As you can tell from the review, I find Gameloft's offering the superior title. I enjoy Super Breakout as well, though.

  • http://www.2playerproductions.com ReformatPlanet

    I consider Block Breaker to be one of the best mobile games i've ever played. That includes the DS and PSP platforms. It's design is razor sharp and extremely well implemented. The amount of content is staggering for what would normally be considered a very shallow game genre. I think nearly all of the additional content and bonus modes are just as entertaining as the main game, none of it feels tacked on for the sake of contents sake.

    Super Breakout is a fine title in it's own right, but to me the difference between the two titles is a kin to the difference between Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Galaxy. You just couldn't ask for more bang for your buck.

  • http://www.2playerproductions.com ReformatPlanet

    I consider Block Breaker to be one of the best mobile games i've ever played. That includes the DS and PSP platforms. It's design is razor sharp and extremely well implemented. The amount of content is staggering for what would normally be considered a very shallow game genre. I think nearly all of the additional content and bonus modes are just as entertaining as the main game, none of it feels tacked on for the sake of contents sake.

    Super Breakout is a fine title in it's own right, but to me the difference between the two titles is a kin to the difference between Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Galaxy. You just couldn't ask for more bang for your buck.

  • http://www.2playerproductions.com ReformatPlanet

    also, if you draw on the "congratulations" screen with your finger it leaves a trail of exploding effects. Neat little touch.

  • http://www.2playerproductions.com ReformatPlanet

    also, if you draw on the "congratulations" screen with your finger it leaves a trail of exploding effects. Neat little touch.

  • Oliver

    The video shows that both games don't really compete with each other. On the one side we have a very calm and relaxing and very classic breakout experience from Atari versus a very action oriented, more chaotic experience going into the Arkanoid direction from Gameloft.

    I bought Block Breaker and like it, but I found it a bit too chaotic sometimes. Super Breakout on the other hand seems to be too calm :).

  • Oliver

    The video shows that both games don't really compete with each other. On the one side we have a very calm and relaxing and very classic breakout experience from Atari versus a very action oriented, more chaotic experience going into the Arkanoid direction from Gameloft.

    I bought Block Breaker and like it, but I found it a bit too chaotic sometimes. Super Breakout on the other hand seems to be too calm :).

  • NotYou

    I was almost sold on Block Breaker until I watched the video. It was tolerable until I turned the sound on... yikes.

    I might love it if I was a 12 year old girl with ADD.

  • NotYou

    I was almost sold on Block Breaker until I watched the video. It was tolerable until I turned the sound on... yikes.

    I might love it if I was a 12 year old girl with ADD.

  • Jack

    The choice is easy: Even if Atari's version was better, I wouldn't buy from a company that gets its lawyers to bully small developers like that.

  • Jack

    The choice is easy: Even if Atari's version was better, I wouldn't buy from a company that gets its lawyers to bully small developers like that.

  • http://www.2playerproductions.com ReformatPlanet

    Its fair for a company to protect it's trademarks. The apps in question where not removed from the app store, they just had their names changed.

    When the whole thing with Atari started, i don't remember any developers mentioning a simple name change being an option. I would be left to wonder if they are guilty themselves of trying to drive sales up by telling people to get them before they get taken down.

  • http://www.2playerproductions.com ReformatPlanet

    Its fair for a company to protect it's trademarks. The apps in question where not removed from the app store, they just had their names changed.

    When the whole thing with Atari started, i don't remember any developers mentioning a simple name change being an option. I would be left to wonder if they are guilty themselves of trying to drive sales up by telling people to get them before they get taken down.

  • Jack

    Except that those companies never say "we feel the name may confuse customers - change it please".

    They have their attorneys draft a letter that makes it sound like removing the app is your only choice. Only after paying and consulting your own lawyer do you get the real picture.

    And even when you know they don't have a legal case - they have the resources to fight; you don't.

    Read the 'Tris' blog:
    http://twofingerplay.blogspot.com/

  • Jack

    Except that those companies never say "we feel the name may confuse customers - change it please".

    They have their attorneys draft a letter that makes it sound like removing the app is your only choice. Only after paying and consulting your own lawyer do you get the real picture.

    And even when you know they don't have a legal case - they have the resources to fight; you don't.

    Read the 'Tris' blog:
    http://twofingerplay.blogspot.com/

  • Podzoe

    The face-off doesn't mention Super Breakout's tilt powerup or boss "battles"...

  • Podzoe

    The face-off doesn't mention Super Breakout's tilt powerup or boss "battles"...

  • bebojohns

    That's true, in your video you got the fire ball powerup in Atari's Super Breakout where you're supposed to tilt the iPhone, using its accelerometer, to break through any brick on the screen including the 'unbreakable' ones with the Atari logo. That's using the iPhone in an innovative fashion. I didn't see Gameloft's port doing anything like that. There are also 'bosses' at the end of each group of levels, which is pretty cool. I like Gameloft's Tokyo pop game, sure, but in small bursts. I prefer the Atari one because it's easier to listen to my own music while playing it. It's actually very relaxing on my long bus commute. ;-)

  • bebojohns

    That's true, in your video you got the fire ball powerup in Atari's Super Breakout where you're supposed to tilt the iPhone, using its accelerometer, to break through any brick on the screen including the 'unbreakable' ones with the Atari logo. That's using the iPhone in an innovative fashion. I didn't see Gameloft's port doing anything like that. There are also 'bosses' at the end of each group of levels, which is pretty cool. I like Gameloft's Tokyo pop game, sure, but in small bursts. I prefer the Atari one because it's easier to listen to my own music while playing it. It's actually very relaxing on my long bus commute. ;-)

  • Tim

    I haven't had a chance to try out all the Breakout games, but so far, Superball2 is my favorite out of the few that I've tried out.

  • Tim

    I haven't had a chance to try out all the Breakout games, but so far, Superball2 is my favorite out of the few that I've tried out.

  • http://www.2playerproductions.com ReformatPlanet

    Block Breaker and Breakout both have bosses at the end of a stage group. Breakout's are just static faces in the background that start to glow as you hit them, until they explode. Block Breakers bosses are each a different game play challenge, like hitting several moving targets, a highway race, or trying to knock the blocks out from under a little guy thats running around the play area.

    Block Breaker also uses the accelerometer to allow you control of certain block clusters, causing them to spin, shrink, or expand.

  • http://www.2playerproductions.com ReformatPlanet

    Block Breaker and Breakout both have bosses at the end of a stage group. Breakout's are just static faces in the background that start to glow as you hit them, until they explode. Block Breakers bosses are each a different game play challenge, like hitting several moving targets, a highway race, or trying to knock the blocks out from under a little guy thats running around the play area.

    Block Breaker also uses the accelerometer to allow you control of certain block clusters, causing them to spin, shrink, or expand.

  • oliver

    does the atari game plays their sound effects on top of your iPod music? Gameloft fails at this in every of their games :(

  • oliver

    does the atari game plays their sound effects on top of your iPod music? Gameloft fails at this in every of their games :(

  • oliver

    ok, I know alsobought super breakout and I'm bit amused. I played the first four levels of the first works and as an introduction to thegame they totally fail. The gameplay is in an underwater world and therefore slow. Really really slow. It absolutely does not challenge and playing the classic game variant instead of this underwater thing seems to be 6 times faster. I'm really not that motivated playing the first world to come to other worlds where the gameplay may be faster. As mentioned before block breaker is a fast and challenging game, while super breakout breaks your motivation during the first levels. I'd prefer a game variant in the middle of both. Bummer. But arari got the music thing right: iPod music and game effects.

  • oliver

    ok, I know alsobought super breakout and I'm bit amused. I played the first four levels of the first works and as an introduction to thegame they totally fail. The gameplay is in an underwater world and therefore slow. Really really slow. It absolutely does not challenge and playing the classic game variant instead of this underwater thing seems to be 6 times faster. I'm really not that motivated playing the first world to come to other worlds where the gameplay may be faster. As mentioned before block breaker is a fast and challenging game, while super breakout breaks your motivation during the first levels. I'd prefer a game variant in the middle of both. Bummer. But arari got the music thing right: iPod music and game effects.

  • Oliver

    Last update on this by me: I'm now in the second world. Gameplay stays the same, even if I'm now on wood and not underwater. This is just plain boring. While I like the graphical style of Super Breakout, Block Breaker Deluxe has more action, more "life" in the game due to the sound and graphical effects and motivates more, with fireworks after you made a level and the many many items you get during gameplay or you can buy in the store. I deleted Super Breakout. 4 Euros again for the trash :(.

    Ridiculous thing in Super Breakout: You can collect an item which makes the gameplay even slower. Argh!

  • Oliver

    Last update on this by me: I'm now in the second world. Gameplay stays the same, even if I'm now on wood and not underwater. This is just plain boring. While I like the graphical style of Super Breakout, Block Breaker Deluxe has more action, more "life" in the game due to the sound and graphical effects and motivates more, with fireworks after you made a level and the many many items you get during gameplay or you can buy in the store. I deleted Super Breakout. 4 Euros again for the trash :(.

    Ridiculous thing in Super Breakout: You can collect an item which makes the gameplay even slower. Argh!

  • arn

    I've also played both and was bored by atari's super breakout

  • arn

    I've also played both and was bored by atari's super breakout

  • Marc

    I was going to get Block Breaker Deluxe until I heard the sound. Guess I can play it without sound but then why did I spend $$$ to upgrade to 2g? :)

  • Marc

    I was going to get Block Breaker Deluxe until I heard the sound. Guess I can play it without sound but then why did I spend $$$ to upgrade to 2g? :)

  • oliver

    You can't mute the music in block breaker, only disable every sound completely.

  • oliver

    You can't mute the music in block breaker, only disable every sound completely.

  • SteveJ

    I decided to buy Block Breaker Deluxe 2. It is a fun game and the graphics are good (though to me it seems a bit slow, animation wise), but I think it seems far too easy. I'm in the 4th world or something and have 11 lives or some such number. I'm worried that, like Chimps Ahoy, once I finish the last world, the game may not have any replay value. There are some unlockables, and I've unlocked the progressive mode (can't recall what it's called), but again it is far too easy and I got bored with it before I was even close to losing all my lives. In fact I may not have lost any before I decided to lose all of them on purpose.

    What happens when you've finished the main game and unlocked all the levels? Can you then jump to any set of levels? If so, how does it handle high scores? Do high scores have an meaning at that point? They don't in Chimps Ahoy where you could just keep playing the same set of levels over and over if you wanted, plus it doesn't do anything to help you keep track of what levels you last played, so it makes it hard to enforce your own structure on the game.)

  • SteveJ

    I decided to buy Block Breaker Deluxe 2. It is a fun game and the graphics are good (though to me it seems a bit slow, animation wise), but I think it seems far too easy. I'm in the 4th world or something and have 11 lives or some such number. I'm worried that, like Chimps Ahoy, once I finish the last world, the game may not have any replay value. There are some unlockables, and I've unlocked the progressive mode (can't recall what it's called), but again it is far too easy and I got bored with it before I was even close to losing all my lives. In fact I may not have lost any before I decided to lose all of them on purpose.

    What happens when you've finished the main game and unlocked all the levels? Can you then jump to any set of levels? If so, how does it handle high scores? Do high scores have an meaning at that point? They don't in Chimps Ahoy where you could just keep playing the same set of levels over and over if you wanted, plus it doesn't do anything to help you keep track of what levels you last played, so it makes it hard to enforce your own structure on the game.)

  • Oliver

    I'm currently in The Villa, where it gets harder. Lost 20 lifes in this world :). In one level you have to collect 20 falling rabbits while not touching the falling bombs (one touch = dead) and still playing the normal game. This level sucks ;).

    I really liked the level which was designed like Space Invaders.

  • Oliver

    I'm currently in The Villa, where it gets harder. Lost 20 lifes in this world :). In one level you have to collect 20 falling rabbits while not touching the falling bombs (one touch = dead) and still playing the normal game. This level sucks ;).

    I really liked the level which was designed like Space Invaders.

  • Skip

    Block Breaker is now $2 :)

  • Skip

    Block Breaker is now $2 :)

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