Here we go again: it's time for more paddles, balls and blocks. Block Breaker 3: Unlimited is the latest Breakout clone to hit the App Store... but it is worth shelling out yet more money for old rope?
As it turns out, the rope is a lot fresher and shinier than usual. And there's a lot of it.
Block Breaker 3 provides a whole heap of small challenge rooms linked together by pipes and tunnels. The core of the game still revolves around breaking blocks and stopping your balls going out of play, but Gameloft has attempted to throw a lot of interesting ideas at the classic formula. Luckily, most of them stick.
Powerups such as lasers and magnets can be deployed mid-game, paddles sometimes appear on side walls and enemies do their best to steal your ball and toss it back to you. Boss battles also make a welcome appearance, and require you to dodge incoming fire as well as juggle your spherical charge. Each individual room feels fairly small and cramped - and it's difficult to shake the feeling that we've been here before hundreds of times - but there's plenty of variety nonetheless.
The touchscreen controls work well enough, although having to deploy powerups by tapping the paddle is easier said than done in the heat of the moment. It's also difficult to precisely aim the ball - which wouldn't be a problem except that Block Breaker 3 frequently requires you to hit tiny targets or pipes that can lead to minutes of complete and total aggravation.
And speaking of aggravation, the menus do their best to entice you to pay for pointless perks or annoy your Facebook friends in exchange for random powerups. The interface is fairly clunky in and of itself, and the addition of these banners does little to ensure a smooth and intuitive experience.
Finally, though, it's worth noting that the graphics are absolutely exceptional. The colourful mayhem is complimented by some sharp artwork and a high level of detail that looks equally good on an iPad or iPhone. It's genuinely a feast for the eyes, and helps to make what could have been a soulless clone a vibrant and sexy proposition.
- Sexy graphics
- Some neat gameplay innovations
- Loads of content, great value
- Annoying monetization and Facebook functionality
- A few mechanical issues
- Here we go again...
Summary: If you're looking for a Breakout clone with a slick and sexy next-gen edge, Block Breaker 3 will suit you down to the ground.
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
Price: £0.69 - App Store