by Daniel Allison
reviewed on PSP
When the PSP Go hit the shelves there was a handful of “Minis” released alongside it. Minis are just small, cheap, simple games available to download from the PlayStation Store (for all PSPs). BreakQuest is one of these Minis and it definitely is small, cheap and simple. It only costs £2.49 and takes the classic Breakout formula while adding a few nice touches.
Everyone has played BreakOut or another brick-breaking game and knows what to expect here. You control a paddle and must deflect a ball off it in order to destroy the bricks above you. That is the basic gameplay of BreakQuest but there are some slight differences. Mainly due to the physics in the game which sees objects swaying about upon contact, if they are not destroyed that is. As well as the good physics it also gives a little bit of control over your ball in the air. Using the shoulder buttons you can bring your ball flying downwards hitting the objects harder.
The level design is fantastic, it is where BreakQuest excels and it is probably the highlight of the game. Gone are the piles of bricks. Some still have them but most have some crazy design that keeps things fun and different. Other levels contain floating balls, objects attached to string, pendulums and plenty of other original designs.
To go along with the great level design, the visuals are very retro. Each level looks completely different from the last, both the background and the destroyable objects. The whole style changes from level to level with animals in one and some crazy, funky multi-colored bubbles in another. It helps to keep the game feel fresh in the 100+ levels. Of course the game is 2D which does limit the visuals in some areas.
The background music in this game adds to the retro style of the game. It has some really enjoyable and funky beats to it, similar to what Lumine has done. One nice little touch is how the music will change if you hit objects. The objects emit a note, tone or beat and makes the music feel that little bit better since you have some form of input to it.
BreakQuest is an old school, retro inspired game and shares elements with them which include its difficulty. I can normally get by well enough on easy in this but both normal and hard put up quite a challenge. Old school games really do like to punish you a lot more then recent games do. The challenge is either a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. Even if you aren’t the best of gamers you should be able to make your way through easy and the ones that want the challenge will love the higher difficulties.
As usual with these brick-breaking games it contains a handful of power ups and weapons that can change the tide of the level. These can help quite a bit and the game kindly give you weapons a lot more frequently when there only a few bricks left so you’re not trying to get it for ages.
One of the main problems with the game is that it has just added to the old formula. It still feels like the same game that everyone has already played but with a few tweaks to design and minor gameplay elements. This isn’t the developers fault though as it is hard to revolutionize a formula so basic but it does imply that maybe it should be left for nostalgia purposes only now.
The controls and sensitivity could have done with a little tweaking. They don’t make the game unplayable but they could have been better. This is more to do with the PSP’s layout though than the actual game. Fortunately the game lets you change the controls and sensitivity so this isn’t really much of a problem.
PSP games should let the player sit and play it happily for a few hours or play it in short bursts. BreakQuest is very good for this as you can work your way through the quest mode over the space of a few hours but you also play a few levels for a short amount of time.
The formula may not have been changed much but it is amazing value for money. £2.49 for some simple, brick-breaking fun is a bargain. If you want a fun pick up and play game BreakQuest is for you.
Great level design and sound
Played it all before