Hyper Breaker Turbo [$1.99] drums up warm, fuzzy feelings of Breakout and Arkanoid. But the game is so much more – and not just because I’m no longer playing on a TI-82 calculator or Windows 95 machine. This is an indie upgrade from beJoy developer, Barry Kostjens, who also developed another blocky iOS game called Push Panic! [Free]. Multi-tiered levels, three delightfully distinct worlds, inebriated power-ups and 75 stages had me breaking bricks, circular doodles and neon triangles in Hyper Breaker Turbo for a good many hours.
In a typical brick-breaking game, you’re landlocked, moving your paddle from left to right. You always feel like you’re not able to react fast enough, especially when a power-up speeds up the ball’s acceleration. Hyper Breaker Turbo gives you a free-floating paddle. You are able to slide left, right, diagonally and every other which way within the paddle’s movement space, which is about three-quarters of an inch high. So when you get a Speedball or Bouncy paddle boost, you will have no one to blame but yourself when the ball starts to bounce wildly out of control.
Each level has multiple tiers. When the ball reaches a certain height, your movement space will smoothly slide upwards with it. However, you can still glide over unbroken blocks as your paddle floats up, gathering point bonuses and other power-ups. Be careful, a lava pit will follow you up so you’ll always want to keep the ball from falling below the movement space.
The movement space really gives you a chance to dive into the game’s physics. You can dictate your ball’s acceleration by how fast you slide your paddle up. This helps when breaking through those extremely tough blocks. A block that would take six hits to break can be broken with only six taps if you take advantage of a power slide. By contrast, if you stick to just sliding left and right or letting the ball fall on your paddle of it’s own accord, the ball will lose its upward velocity more quickly.
This becomes especially important when you get a Gravityball. It’s like the nasty poison mushroom you try to avoid in Super Mario. As the name suggests, this ball hates heights and is like a lava magnet. You have to always give it a solid paddle thump if you want it to go up and do any damage.
Hyper Breaker Turbo is broken up into three boards: Classic, Doodle and Neon World. Neon World was my favorite. However, you will have to get through the tricky Doodle stage to unlock Neon World. The Doodle world has a cool style. Overall, the symmetry of the Classic is sidelined in favor of squiggly lines and other odd shapes.
I like the Doodle levels but it can be difficult if you get a Drunkball. As the name suggests, this ball does acts like it’s had one drink too many. My other problem with the Doodle stage is that the white background makes it difficult to see the Shooting power-up as well as your shots once you get it. All of a sudden Instant Death icons are raining down and you’re wondering, how are these bricks breaking? The latest update adjusts the ball from a white ball to black ball, which helps with Doodle world visibility. It would be nice if the "Shooting" power up and laser fire also had stronger black outlines to make them more visible.
Neon World is simply awesome. Kostjens puts everything on the table, from an abundance of bumpers to spinning lines. The pinball-y feel was a great way to top off this game.
Hyper Breaker Turbo finds simple ways to improve on a time-tested game. I got a lot of replay going back through levels, trying to get four stars. The physics, free-floating paddle and awesome level designs make this one game worth checking out. Just be wary of those drunken balls.
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