I've played a lot of brick breakers, and whenever one claims to reinvent the genre I cringe a little bit. Usually it means they've added crazy paddles or rotation mechanics that turn the game into something totally different. All I want is a really awesome modern take on the Breakout formula. Is that so much to ask?

Apparently not, because that's exactly what Anodia [$0.99] gives us. Functionally, it's a standard brick breaker, with one paddle at the bottom, some bricks to break on top, and a ball that bounces between them. The pickups that drop from broken bricks can enhance your game, making your paddle faster, giving you extra balls, and so on. They can also punish you, with handicaps like a stunned or shrunk paddle. All fairly typical stuff. Aesthetically, though, this game is anything but typical.

The "bricks," in this case, can be almost anything. You'll be bouncing your ball at light bulbs, flowers, and beautiful geometric shapes, many of which move and sway with realistic physics. This can lead to some confusion—sometimes you can't really tell how much damage you've done unless you can spare a glance at the brick's health meter at the top of the screen—but it's worth it. Each level is a new surprise to look at and play with.

The main campaign has 48 levels across 8 themes, like "Colors" and "Geometry," and there's a mini-campaign with 5 extra levels. In campaign mode, you're working toward an overall high score for completing all the levels. You start with 5 lives, and you can buy 5 more with 20,000 of your hard-earned points.  Your overall score and best level scores are ranked on Game Center leaderboards. You also get graded with stars on your performance each level, and you can go back to improve your grade in Quick Play mode.

I should mention one powerup that makes Anodia a lot less frustrating than some other brick breakers - the Gravity Field. It's a freebie that you can activate at any time by tapping the screen. Balls will be pulled toward the spot you've tapped, making it much easier to hit the last few bricks in a level. Once you've used it you'll need to let it recharge, but the recharge time goes down as you approach the end of each level. It's a little touch, but it keeps things moving.

You can choose between tilt and touch controls, and they're both fairly good choices—with slight downsides. With touch controls, the paddle feels a bit too slow. It's no faster in tilt mode, but without your finger speeding ahead you won't notice as much. Tilt mode doesn't feel quite as precise as touch, though. You might want to experiment a little to see what feels best.

There's only one serious problem with Anodia: it has no music. Since you can't listen to iPod music while playing, you have the choice of silence or the sound effects alone. There's a toggle for music volume, so I'm hoping to see an update that brings it in eventually. Feel free to chime in with other ideas in the forum thread. I'd also love to see some more color. While Anodia's levels are beautiful, most of them rely on a very muted color palette. Some later levels are filled with color, and it just brings the game to life.

Neither of those things is keeping me from putting a lot of time into Anodia. With star ratings to earn on each level and 32 Game Center achievements, there's plenty to do. As a Universal release with Retina support, Anodia looks lovely on any device. I'm not sure it actually reinvents the brick breaker, but it's certainly an exciting and beautiful example of the genre.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Leegames

    How come no developers actually use a smarter control. Like pressin one half of the screen makes the paddle go that way and vice versa? It is not comfortable to hold a pad with one hand and then try to move at the same time. And not eceryone loves tilting their pad either. Just give us a left/right control.

    In this one you can touch the lft side to make it go ALL theway to the left, not to move it. Thats such a waste. Charming game, great mechanics, but the controls suck.

    • NathanQuest

      +1: Feeling the same way! There are a few games that use your mentioned mechanic (like Radiant) and I like that a lot. I am really enjoying Anodia - it's actually the first brick breaker I like to play on my iDevice(s) - but if the dev consider the press-left-to-go-left-press-right-to-go-right-option I'd be spending a lot more time with it :-)

    • Anonymous

      Pretty sure the way you just described is a minority preference. Most games get calls for direct control over the paddle (ship if it's a SHMUP). Granted more options are nice, but the answer to the question is "because that's what people want".

    • http://twitter.com/bivisgames Bivis Games

      I prefer use the half screen method to move paddle, its better to play using the thumbs (in my opinion). But some people prefer to hold the padle.
      The game could give the players the choice of what kind of control they want to use.
      I dont played the game yet, but it seens very beautiful and funny! 

  • Royce

    Spot on review for a gem of a game.

  • imusic

    Another one I'd recommend if you like that sort of thing is Jet Ball.  A good take on the Breakout formula and doesn't try to "reinvent" the genre (by making it unplayable).

  • Macaroon

    I think the only serious problem are the controls. The lack of music is a tiny issue in comparison.

  • Marach

    It's a complete ripoff of Breakquest. Most of the powerups and even some of the levels are almost identical.

Anodia: Unique Brick Breaker Reviewed by Nissa Campbell on . Rating: 4