How many times can Breakout be re-invented? The classic brick-breaking arcade game may just be the most cloned title in all of gaming. But even though Anodia is essentially riffing on a formula that’s more than three decades old, it still manages to be fun and challenging, if not particularly original.
The set-up, as always, involves a paddle at the bottom of the screen and a whole bunch of bricks up top. By moving the paddle around– either via touch or tilt controls– you’ll be able to control a bouncing ball. The ultimate goal is to bounce the block off of all of the bricks at the top, thus clearing them from the screen. So far, so Breakout.
Where Anodia differentiates itself is through power-ups and level design. Though a few stages feature plain old blocks to destroy, most swap them out for all manner of objects to smash. Everything from squares made out of smaller squares to swinging paper lanterns to rotating light bulbs. Some of the objects only need to be hit once, while others will need multiple hits to clear them away. The game’s 48 levels are divided into themes, such as lighting or geometry, with a half dozen levels for each theme.
But the levels don’t just look different from one another, they play differently as well. With a variety of rotating, swinging, and stationary targets, each stage requires a different technique. And you’ll most definitely need to make use of the multiple power-ups.
As you break objects, occasionally tiny spheres will drop down, which you can collect with the paddle. They can do everything from making your paddle bigger to spawning multiple balls. And what’s cool is that the power-ups can actually build off of one another. So your paddle can grow multiple times if you collect the same power-up more than once, just as the screen can potentially be filled with tons of balls bouncing around instead of just three.
But the effects caused by these little guys isn’t always positive. Sometimes you’ll collect one that causes clouds to appear, temporarily blocking parts of the screen. Other times you’ll find ones that cause the balls to bounce in strange, unpredictable ways.
Now in Technicolor.
Since your attention is generally focused on keeping the ball (or balls) in play, it can be tough to determine just which item you’re collecting.This provides a nice risk/ reward scenario where you have to decide whether or not to grab a power-up knowing that it could either help you a great deal or mess up your rhythm completely.
Unlike most iOS games, in Anodia you only have a certain number of lives to complete the main campaign. Once those run out you have the option to either start again from the beginning or forfeit a huge chunk of your score for a few more lives. Since high scores are an integral aspect of this type of game– and you can use Game Center leaderboards to compete with friends– this, again, presents an interesting dilemma for players. There’s also a quick play mode where you can re-play any of the levels you’ve completed during the campaign.
The amount you’ll enjoy Anodia depends entirely on your tolerance for Breakout clones. If you’re sick to death of the formula, this game will do little to win you over. But otherwise, Anodia represents an incredibly well polished and designed take on a classic game, with lots of replayability. It doesn’t do much new, but it makes something old feel new.