It's no secret that Sony's Minis have somewhat of a bad rap around the gaming world. Minis are usually overpriced versions of games we have already been playing for a long time (and for free) on iOS devices. But the allure of Minis is that you can play them on your PS3 and on a much bigger screen, or more appropriately for some of these games, you can play them on the go on your PSP or Vita. And while I won't sugarcoat things (yes, most Minis are downright atrocious), ever so often a Mini comes along that is indeed worthy of some love. BreakQuest: Extra Evolution is such a Mini.
BreakQuest, at its core, is a brick breaking game. You have a ball and you control the paddle. You move left and right and bounce the little ball towards breakable obstacles. Once you knock out all the obstacles, you advance to the next stage.What makes Break Quest unique however is its use of physics to present interesting challenges for each level. Some levels have you hitting objects tied to a string, which in turn can help you break other blocks. The physics doesn’t stop with simple objects on strings either. You also have rubber band-like objects as well. The physics-based elements have you on your toes trying to figure out how to use it to your advantage.
Graphically, Extra Evolution outdoes the genre by a landslide as the art direction is a pretty fun one. This is a bright and colorful title that really stand out among its brick breaker peers. While the simple design is almost hypnotic, it can also cause serious problems for some in terms of gameplay. The background and ‘un-breakable’ objects are sometimes indistinguishable from the ‘breakables’. This is a big issue when you are playing a level for the first time however, as the more you play, the better trained your eyes become.
Speaking of levels, this game packs a good amount of them. 100 levels in fact are jammed into this teeny 56MB game. Each level has its own obstacles for you to tackle and the game equips you with many tools to do so. You have classic “catch” powers (which let you hold onto the ball before shooting it), and the classic “Guns” (which let you shoot away at some blocks). The game does throw some cool powers your way though, such as a power that changes the shape of the ball to a triangle, which changes the physics and thus your strategy. And just to round out the experience, at the end of each chapter is a "Boss Fight" of sorts that pits you against a challenging foe. It helps keep things entertaining, something that this genre could use more of.
As most games of this type, there is always something to reach for thanks to your trust scoring system at the end of each level. Scoring big ever increasing your rank, a nice touch to a game with no real leader boards. But in this competitive realm of gaming not having someway to compare your score with say that of your friends' or some random guy you met online is just silly. How else am I supposed to know I'm better then them if no one tells me?! There are also achievements to grab like “Perfect Fly”, never losing a ball in a level, and so forth. It gets the job done in making you feel all warm inside for pulling stuff off and not being a complete failure at what is supposed to be a relatively simple game (yay?), but in all honesty it does nothing for me. Now if there were Trophies, then we would be on to something…
One final noteworthy aspect of BreakQuest: Extra Evolution is its soundtrack. Now for the most part, the music itself is quite fun. It had my head bopping quite a few times throughout my play through. But the sound FX though, dear God the sound FX are just, a bit…obnoxious. There is only so many bleeps and bloops a man can take in any given play session before slitting his own wrists.
There is plenty of fun to be had with BreakQuest: Extra Evolution. It's a brick breaker with a challenging physics engine to keep you on your toes. This is simple. rapid-fire gaming at its best. Pick it up if you have some spare cash lying around.
Fun Factor: Take Brick Breaker and mash it with Pinball. How can it not be fun?
Difficulty: The challenge varies from level to level.
Length: Each of the game's ten chapters took no longer than half an hour to complete. What is that, five hours? Yeah, sounds about right.
On the Negative Side: The Sound FX. The art while eye-catching could have been a bit more defined as far as what is “in play” and what is not.
Bang for Your Buck: At $3.99, BreakQuest: Extra Evolution won’t take up too much room on your PS3 or even your Vita if you plan to play on the go. It isn't going to blow your mind, but it makes for a perfect time passer.