Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mini-review: Acky's XP Breakout

When I reviewed Machines at War, I mentioned that there were incentives involved. Isotope 244, the maker of MAW, was running a contest -- write a review, maybe win a free game. I came, I saw, I reviewed ... I won! Might as well review the free game too, right?

The prize I selected was Acky's XP Breakout, which is exactly what it sounds like: A brick-and-paddle game of the type which has remained popular since the days of the Atari 2600. I love Breakout. Hell, I taught myself to program games in BASIC by writing a version of it for the Commodore VIC 20 back in high school, and even sold a few copies of that game on cassette tape at a local hobby shop.

Acky's is a very nice implementation of the game (at least in its Mac version -- I note that the Windoze version is compatible all the way back to WIN95, which is nice for those with old boxes sitting around). The graphics and audio are both quite well-done, with particle disintegration effects and such to make play a pleasant visual and auditory experience. The game has its standard Breakout physics down pat, i.e. the only bounce surprises will be when you grab the "random ball direction" powerup -- and speaking of powerups, there are 26 kinds (and 80 brick types!).

If you like Breakout-type games -- and I suspect they're right up there with Tetris-type games as an enduringly popular form -- you'll like this one. It's got extra bells and whistles that work, and it's got the fundamentals that make this type of game addictive.

Acky's comes with 150 levels. Free add-on level packs can be downloaded (they come pre-installed in the Mac version). It also includes a built-in level editor so you can make your own. Your Breakout addiction satisfaction possibilities are effectively unlimited.

Recommended! And no, I didn't mention that it was a freebie because the FTC said I had to -- it's just the right thing to do. I'm not a big game buyer, but if I was looking for a Breakout game and had to buy one instead of being so damn cool that people throw games at me, Acky's would definitely be on the short list.

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