Radial 50 literally a new spin on brick breakers

Posted: July 7, 2009 in Arcade

Brick breaker-type games have always been as interesting to me as Match 3 and tower defense games. While the concepts are usually the same, many have innovative themes or mechanics that continue to generate interested gamers nonetheless. Calling Radial 50 an Arkanoid clone would be a disservice because this game literally offers a new spin that is both creative and innovative—something you don’t hear too often about brick breaker games. It goes beyond blocks and takes an edgy and refreshing 360-degree approach that should appeal to the masses.

Radial 50 introduces solid mechanics in a visually alluring layout supported by the beats of an alternative/techno rock soundtrack. You control a paddle on circular platform with the objective of destroying bricks also laid out in a circular and geometric design to nail the diamond in the center. The actual mechanics of controlling the paddle is via a slider on the right or left hand side (which you can set), and while this sounds simple, the gameplay is something to behold.

The game has 50 levels each with its own color scheme and background, funky music and even funkier title. Sample titles include “8 Plays is Enough”, “Bullet Proof Bully”, “Blue Ghosts Taste Good” and “Green Hill Zone”. The one hitch with Radial is that once you lose a level you start all over which can be frustrating. In addition, you also can’t select specific levels to play, although both of these minor issues should be resolved in a future update. The game goes beyond simply blowing out blocks. It’s also about collecting particles and utilizing various powerups and powerdowns which do everything from increasing and slowing down ball speed to enlarging and shrinking paddle size. Hopefully, you don’t have a big ego. The game has online scoreboards by city, state and country although in my initial connection, the server mistakenly thought I was located in Malaysia…just slightly off by a few thousand miles.

The game has 20 achievements with some easier than others to attain through the levels. These range from finishing rounds 10, 25 and 50 and completing rounds without losing health to scoring 10, 25 and 50 millions points and collecting certain numbers of particles. The achievements are nicely set up because they also state what percentage of players has achieved those specific achievements. So if you’re seeing something that states 1%, chances are you should be look at other milestones.

I can’t state this enough that the mechanics are solid in terms of controls. Rotating the paddle around is relatively smooth, and the only problem initially for me for moving my thumb too far off to the right side off the screen. I did notice some lag on my iPod 2g v3.0 device during gameplay when the ball was bouncing around but it was very slight.

The gameplay can be summed up in one word—great. Basically you rotate the paddle around the screen to bounce and eliminate the various blocks to reach the diamond in the middle. A health gauge gradually loses strength each time the ball hits the wall instead of the paddle. But, the gauge recharges in health the longer you play. In addition, as each block is eliminated in the play area, little particles appear which can be collected with the paddle for additional points or what is called particle points. On certain levels, the diamond is locked meaning 50% of the blocks must be destroyed before it unlocks. In some cases, the ball will bounce around for what seems like minutes within the circular layout, and you’ll need to watch for where it may exit. A message box appears in the upper left corner indicating bonus points while a separate message box appears in the lower left corner indicating a specific event such as an overflow of particles, power ups and power downs (e.g. super paddle, small paddle etc.). One thing to keep in mind is that the ball can easily get lost visually in the particle chaos. This is one of those issues that can be addressed by highlighting the ball either with a glow or a tail to aid with visual pickup.

At the end of each level, a scoreboard appears providing a summary of points broken down by particle points, event bonus, points in that level, and overall points. Time taken to complete the level is also included which can result in a time bonus.

Overall, I would say that Radial 50 has enough uniqueness to appeal to almost everyone. The game is entertaining and rather addictive, and I’d say that goes hand in hand with the terrific soundtrack. If you think you’re bored with brick breaker games, give Radial 50 a try before you give up on the category. It may change your mind.

Albie Meter: 5 Stars (highly recommended if you’re an Arkanoid follower, and even if you aren’t, try the lite version and you may convert)

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