Most classic video games have been remade time and time again, some good and some bad. You have your Pong remakes, Tetris style remakes and the subject of this review…Breakout remakes. This latest masterpiece revisited, if you will, is Retroid by Taurris. An attempt at bringing yet another Breakout styled game to the play store but this time hailing that is is retro! I’m pretty sure you know how to play and playing this retro Breakout game will either bring you back to old times or still keep you busy with its’ tons of levels.
From Joysticks to Fingers
I suppose the original Breakout video games were played on old Atari systems which controlled on screen objects through joysticks. That mode of play has since been transferred to keyboards and now, on the mobile market, fingers! Oh the future! One problem with that though…I find fingers to be a highly inaccurate way of controlling your breakout paddle in Retroid. Your finger gets in the way, the screen doesn’t always register movement, your finger gets tired or skips along the screen (maybe that is just a problem I have), etc. Of course this is the way of the future and we have to adapt I guess but doesn’t make Retroid any less annoyingly difficult. Note that I tried Retroid both on my tablet and my phone to see which worked better for my controlling issues and I found that the smaller screen on my phone was slightly better but not by much.
All the Pieces
If you’re going to do a Breakout inspired game you need to have the base foundation that started it all and also incorporate the standard features that have arisen since then. In terms of Breakout games this mainly would be great powerups and effects. Retroid does have all the pieces so to speak…but has some issues putting them to good use. Powerup wise Retroid has the typical ones, both good and bad. Increase/decrease paddle length, speed/slow down ball and extra lives. That’s it actually… Just three basic powerups… I’ve played flash games that have tons more powerups. What is even worse is that the powerups don’t fall but are static meaning you have to hit them again to get the powerup. This is interesting but it turns into really not being able to control what powerups you get and you end up getting lots of bad powerups. This leads to the second problem…powerups are permanent. Say you get a ton of shrink bad powerups and your paddle is an inch long, you then lose a life because it is hard playing with such a small paddle. Your paddle comes back…just as small. This puts you at a huge disadvantage already and could easily make you lose all your lives. Acceleration powerups do the same thing and slow down powerups just seem useless in Retroid.
One of the redeeming qualities of Retroid is the amount of levels. Right now there are five level packs with 15 levels each. That is a lot of levels which can keep you busy for a while. Also the later level packs seem to have pretty nice and more modern level design than the first couple packs. For instance the later ones have features such as magnets, teleporters and movable pieces. Unfortunately I did not really get to play those later levels as I find Retroid so frustratingly difficult due to the control issues, powerup fails and terrible level design in the first pack. I’ll touch on the level designs that I played for this review which is most of the first level pack. I found them pretty uninspired and just basic with lot of easy traps to get the ball stuck in infinite bounces as well as cheap ploys to lose balls quick. I have actually given this game more attention than most trying to reach new level packs to share those experiences with you all but the cards are really stacked against you in Retroid. In general I would say Retroid is a fairly mediocre Breakout inspired game that has the graphics going for it but nothing else.