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.

Get the game at: