Mash-ups can breathe new life into classics by combining familiar pieces in new ways. Danger Mouse mixed vocal tracks from Jay-Z’s Black Album with music from the Beatles’ White Album to create the underground hit The Grey Album. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters puts Jane Auston’s characters in the path of, well, you get the idea. Developer Simon Windmill has done something similar with Breakeroids, a smart mash-up of Asteroids and Breakout.
The bottom of the screen in Breakeroids looks like the game Breakout, with a ball and a paddle that slides back and forth at your touch. The rest of the screen bears more than a passing resemblance to Asteroids, with vector-drawn space rocks that start out big and break into smaller pieces as you bounce the ball off of them.
In the reality of the game, what you’re doing with the paddle is protecting Earth from the asteroids. Helping you out are three force fields that represent your number of lives. Each time you let a ball past your paddle, or if your paddle gets hit by a pellet fired by a rogue spaceship, you lose a force field. Once those are gone, the asteroids can drift on by. If an asteroid touches the bottom of the screen, you and Earth are toast. If it makes you feel any better, your score is submitted to OpenFeint and Game Center leaderboards.
You’re not allergic to neon, are you?
The only other things in the game are power-ups and power-downs (the evil siblings of power-ups). Most of the power-ups will be familiar to anyone who’s played a version of Breakout. They include one that grants you three bals, giving you more asteroid-breaking potential, and one that widens your paddle. On the flipside, touching a bad power-up can shrink your paddle or make your ball wobble unpredictably in space. There’s no power-up key, so you’ll have to figure out for yourself what result each power-up has.
Depending on how elite of a gamer you are, an average session of Breakeroids might take you between one and five minutes, and the whole time you’ll be doing more or less the same thing. That makes it a great game to play when you only have a few moments to spare, but it’s not one you’ll likely play for hours on the couch at home.
Still, with its tight controls and retro polish, we had fun with the game. If you enjoy the retro arcade games whisked together into Breakeroids, give this one a shot.