I love brick breaker games, which is why I was happy to review the Wii U version of the game by Sanuk Games. I also love Pong, as does every other gamer from my generation. So the prospect of a game that mixed the two together seemed very interesting to me. Sadly though, Double Breakout by nuGAME just wasn’t executed well.
Double Breakout is not a pretty game. It looks about as good as the original brick breaker games did. The first thing you will notice is of course the main menu. It’s ugly. Honestly I could have made something nicer in MS Paint. It’s a black background with that classic pixelated arcade font shown in a few different colors in a really small size relative to the rest of the all black screen. The title is much bigger, but even uglier than the rest of the text. It’s a mixture of orange and red block text that looks like it’s bending toward the viewer for effect. Not sure why nuGAME felt this was necessary. You can play the game on your TV or your Wii U gamepad, but not both at the same time. And the gamepad only supports single player mode, which technically makes sense.
The actual gameplay looks ok, but it’s not anything amazing. The background color changes and grid pattern changes every stage and some of them aren’t too shabby. But it’s still just easily generated repetitive patterns that a computer could make in a matter of seconds. The gameplay consists of a pong board with a red bumper on the left side and a blue bumper on the right. In the center are blocks that look the same as the blocks in any other brick breaker game. They come in different colors and layouts depending on the level. The only HUD you have is the score which appears at the bottom corners of the screen depending on the mode in white pixel block text. In single player mode there is also the number of lives in the top left corner in the same white font. Everything runs pretty smoothly. There’s no lag or anything like that, but ultimately it’s not a great looking game.
The gameplay is fairly simple. It’s just pong with bricks in the middle. You can use the gamepad or the pro controller to play. All you do is move the bumper up or down with the left stick or the d-pad. Each player has a ball the same color as the bumper they’re controlling. Well technically the red bumper has an orange ball. The balls have long streaks running behind them so you can’t lose track of them. I actually did really appreciate this design choice. Your goal is to destroy all the bricks in the middle by hitting the ball into them. Each ball is destroyed in one hit. Some bricks can’t be destroyed and don’t have to be to complete the level. In some levels the balls can get stuck in infinite loops between unbreakable blocks. In these scenarios the second ball is all you have to complete the stage. In the single player mode you start with three lives. If your ball gets past you then you lose a life. If the computer’s ball gets past you then you only lose points. The single player is about getting the highest score before you die. There are 20 total levels to complete, but you can’t continue. Every time you die you have to start at level one. Occasionally special balls will appear that will bounce around till collected by one of the players. The silver balls are extra lives, the green balls make the bumper(s) longer, and the red and white balls speed up your ball.
The multiplayer is the same as the single player except there are unlimited lives and both players have their own score. You can just keep playing this mode through all 20 levels regardless of how many times you die. You don’t even need a second player because you never run out of lives. Technically you can just leave the game running and it will clear the levels on its own. Just make sure you move the controller occasionally so your Wii U doesn’t turn itself off from inactivity. The gameplay isn’t anything special. It’s akin to the PVP mode in Brick Breaker by Sanuk Games but in this there are multiple stages and it’s not nearly as pretty.
The sound has potential but ultimately disappoints in Double Breakout. The effects are pretty simple. There’s a sound for dying, hitting blocks, and completing a level. They all sound fine. The music is actually really good in the type of tracks there are and their versatility, but the sound quality is atrocious. It’s so scratchy like it was recorded with a gaming headset or something. You have the ability to set the music and effects volumes separately but the default levels work fine. It’s a simple game so the sound isn’t that important but it wasn’t well done either way.
There’s no writing in Double Breakout of any sort. There’s not even a tutorial. Just the menu, options, and high score.
This is a game with only a single high score kept on record at a time. There’s no online leaderboard or gameplay. The game is only worth playing through the 20 levels, which again you can do without actually playing because the multiplayer mode will do it on its own as long as you don’t let it time out. If it’s important to you, clearing all 20 levels of the single player mode is quite the challenge. Otherwise there’s really no reason to play this game longer than the one or two hours it will take you to clear the 20 levels in multiplayer mode. And that’s way over exaggerating the time. The game playing by itself in multiplayer mode finished all 20 stages in just under an hour. It will probably take you longer actually playing it than just letting it run on its own. This game is definitely not worth the $7. If you want a brick breaker game with multiplayer capabilities, the aforementioned Brick Breaker by Sanuk Games costs less money and has 5 times the stages in single player mode.
Double Breakout had potential as a general concept, but it falls short in basically every way. I was left disappointed and underwhelmed. There is legitimately no aspect of the game that I felt was done well in totality. It’s overpriced and under developed. Don’t waste your time or your money.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Wii U code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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