Breakout is one of the all-time greats in gaming: It’s simple to get into, and it provides a nice mix of skill and chance, allowing virtually anyone to clear its boards, yet remain engaging and challenging. Hyper Breaker Turbo is a game that takes the basic foundation set by Breakout and attempts to evolve it, though whether this version works or not is up for debate.
The biggest twist that I haven’t seen in other Breakout-style games is the player’s progression through a vertical corridor to reach a finish line. It’s not a straight shot, however; in addition to breakable blocks, there are a number of other obstacles along the way that can both help and hinder you. Walls and floors that give off an almost platformer-esque vibe are frequent, with other unique elements such as pinball-style bumpers or portals that move you around the screen.
There are also power-ups aplenty, as well as power-downs. The power-ups can affect your ball in numerous ways, be it by providing multiple balls, an extra-bouncy coating for your paddle, bullets from your paddle, and extra lives. Conversely, there are also instant-death items that will fall, and even a power-up that makes the ball act rather erratically until it’s lost– something it eventually seems keen on making a certainty as it actively dodges your paddle to reach the lava below.
The touch controls allow for vertical and diagonal movement along with the traditional horizontal, and you can even ram it into the ball to give it an extra bit of oomph. One bothersome thing is that the paddle is always hovering above your finger, making it feel strangely detached to a degree from your own actions; an option to align it directly with your fingertip would be welcome.
Additionally, each time you discover a new item, you get a prompt explaining what it does or how it works. The problem here is that getting the paddle back under control after tapping the screen to dismiss said prompt can be tricky, enough so that you might find yourself losing the ball before you can regain control. Similarly, an easier to tap pause button in the upper-right would be welcome for those times when the ball is speeding and, say, you need to answer the phone.
Touch controls being a little iffy aside, the biggest problem is one generally inherent to Breakout: The more blocks you break, the fewer blocks there are. Obvious though that may be, the issue is that without blocks to break, the ball can spend a considerable amount of time just bouncing around back and forth. At this point, the game becomes boring, though you have to keep your eyes open for that one stray bounce that might bring it back to you, hopefully allowing you to give it a new course to its goal. One other neat touch worth noting is that the title screen keeps an active and ever-growing tally of blocks broken by players worldwide.
So that’s Hyper Breaker Turbo. It’s not bad, but it’s not spectacular, either, and it feels like the downsides just edge out the upsides, though a lot of that could be chalked up to circumstance as well.