Pixels and Balls = Win.

April 27, 2010

Block breaking games, delicious and chock-full of vitamins and stuff… Well, maybe not, but they are entertaining fair for killing time. Pixel Basher, developed by the relatively low key EmitterCritter, takes the style of pixel themed graphics, adds a dash of gravity and flair, and packages it up for your entertainment needs.

Yes, I have two of them...

The game play is about what you would expect. You have a ball, a paddle, and blocks that need bashing. The first thing you might notice is the paddle’s odd shape. Instead of the usual flat rectangle, you have what appears to be more of a half circle barrier to knock the ball back with. This twist on the old design allows the paddle to have a spring effect that helps to build up the ball’s momentum, leading to more powerful slams on contact with bricks. A gravity mechanic is added to give the ball weight. Meaning the ball no longer moves in perpetual motion, gaining infinitely more speed as it bounces off bricks and walls. Instead, the ball needs to build up momentum using the spring mechanic of the paddle and straight shots towards your target. Curving the balls direction can lead to disastrous effects, as the ball will lose most of its speed and come crashing back down sooner than expected. Letting the ball get caught at the top of a row of blocks will also lead to the ball losing movement and ending up stuck, causing it to explode, and penalizing you one of your limited number of retries. Your paddle isn’t meant to simply keeping the ball in motion, as it is equipped with a cannon that can fire pellets at bricks to add a bit of support from your end. Gold earned during and after each round will provide you the currency to upgrade to different types of weapons for your paddle, as well as the strength of each weapon, and the amount of ammo you start the next round with.

And my balls are gigantic too...

The graphics, while being simple in terms of the gameplay at hand, are full of bright flashes, pixelated destruction, and streaming trails to signify the balls movement. The best part about the art style though, is the pattern of the blocks in each level. The developer definitely wanted to pay homage to classic games; such as, Megaman, Space Invaders, Super Mario, and several others. Sound is limited to the typical ball breaking brick demographic, and of course small chimes to inform you of a power-up or coin grab. The music consists of two melodies, one during the stage select screen, and another during actual gameplay. While the techo-style music is catchy and not at all distracting, there’s definitely a desire for a little more on that end.

Awesome, awesome reference!

The game is simply awesome on so many levels. If you love brick breaking games, you’re going to love this short, but highly entertaining romp through the genre. Five thumbs up.

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The guys down at Berzerk Studio get a lot of sass for trying to make a little money off their games, but if there’s one thing good flash developers need, it’s finance to keep things going. Berzerk has an impressive lineup, including games like Hero Arms and the Mechanical Commando series, but their most recent work takes a new spin on the idea of “fan service” and places it in the realm of payback and irony. Homerun in Berzerk Land takes the mechanics of games such as, Toss the Turtle, and puts its own spin on it by making it a tribute to the idea of taking a bat, electric guitar, and yes; even a sword, to the backside of anyone that has left you a retarded comment before.

About to take this one home.

The game isn’t subtle about the message it’s trying to get across. As the geek waits for you to set up the distance and power of your hit, he mouths off in a very “na-na” fashion, using phrases that were actually pulled from the comments section from some of the games that Berzerk Studio has submitted in the past.

Bloody hell!

There’s no shortage of blood either, as you dole out punishment to your target; be it from a series of bee stings, rockets fired from a wandering mech, punches from a towering berzerker, or just from the hard ground waiting for him when his journey comes to an end. The game runs smoothly on the highest graphical quality, and the controls are easy to pick up right from the start. Upgrades as well as level ups from xp and cash gained after each serve help to raise the distance and pain you’ll be dishing out as the game goes on.

All in all, it’s an enjoyable experience, however, the game’s charm and appeal don’t last long. The entire thing becomes repetitive after a short amount of time. Nothing really changes as far as the structure of the game goes. You are given the option of using several different characters to take on the role of batter, and even unlock a few more as you gain distance, but other than that, the game lacks the depth and lasting enjoyment that Berzerk Studio’s other titles have. In the end, it’s a game worth trying, if only for the fun of knocking around a virtual representation of your most hated trolls, but you won’t be sticking around for long.

Find the game at: