game review gaming playstation 3 playstation network

Game Review: Shatter PS3

shatter-psnShatter is a new PlayStation 3 download game that takes the old bat and ball formula to the next level with great gameplay, great twists, innovation and a thumping soundtrack. It was released last week on PSN.

The Premise

Remember games like Arkonoid, Break-out and more recently Magic Ball? You are a bat, you have a ball and a hell of a lot of bricks to bash out. Well as fun and popular those games are the gameplay has always been very similar in them all. Shatter aims to blow away the competition (pun intended) with adding a suck/blow feature and adding technological creatures to battle against thus bringing new life to classic gaming.

The Gameplay

As the bat you have two purposes. The first is to destroy all the bricks on each level and the second is to make sure you keep batting the ball and keep it in the gameplay arena. If all your balls gets passed your lovely bat then its game over. However going a step beyond other games in the genre there are three twists which make Shatter stand out as a classic game and believe me, it is.

The first one is that for first time stages are in three different shapes. You have your typical shooting the bricks vertically, then also levels shooting horizontally almost like an old 2D shooter. Finally there’s circular levels and these for me personally were tricky and complex as when the ball hits the side walls there is always an angle you need to calculate that it’ll come off at.

The second twist is really the crux of Shatter and that’s the suck/blow system. The shoulder buttons act as wind instruments almost, one blowing wind away from the bat and one sucking all the air into the bat. This is course alters where the ball is going to end up (shown by a dot on the side walls much like a snooker game) but just as importantly, the bricks start to move as well! Bricks equals points and power too as when you shatter them power orbs are left behind that give you a power up laser. Collecting these orbs increases your score multiplier as well. The trick is do you suck everything in and get all the orbs but risk losing loads of bricks as they fall out the playing arena or do you blow everything away but get a rubbish score! It really adds an entirely new element to the bat and ball series and while potentially you could complete the vast majority of the game without it, you’d really be missing the whole point.

The third twist are the boss battles. There are 10 area’s, each one split into many sub levels culminating in a big boss battle at the end. These follow a set pattern and you must learn to use all of the above the defeat the boss who’s usually shooting various weapons at you too.

Shatter-Screen

The Graphics

Shatter is completely mechanical and futuristic. The game screens are bold and crisp while the bosses themselves move quickly and there’s always a lot going on onscreen. There’s nothing poor about it and the way the levels flip into the next is quite beautiful.

The Sound

It’s not often a PSN game gets a soundtrack released and the fact I’ve bought it already should say a great deal about it. Module has made a fantastic dance electro rock soundtrack that is really something. The guitar riffs are catchy, the beat stomps all the way through and you’ll feel almost like your playing an old school shoot-em-up. HPM will be reviewing the soundtrack very soon.

The Replay Factor

Shatters main mode is very addictive and great while it lasts as with all games like this, the mode can be completed quite easily. That leaves you with the boss mode (a time trial mega run) and bonus mode with is juggling three balls that increase with speed for as long as possible. What you will be doing though is coming back to improve your high scores as Shatter likes to hold the bait of all your friends high-scores for you to try and beat. Doing this works and you’ll be trying to out bat and ball your friends long after you’ve finished the game. There are trophies and most are easy to get bar a silver for completing the game without a continue.

The Positives

~Great twists on old concepts

~Very addictive

~A soundtrack to live for

The Negatives

~Lack of a real multiplayer

The Verdict

Shatter is an utter triumph. Mixing old school gameplay with a modern day twist and giving it all the nuts and bolts it needs gives you a game that is both fun to play and rewardingly addictive. The lack of multiplayer is a shame but beating everyone on the friends high score lists should keep everyone going for a while. Shatter is also shockingly cheap too and if you can find a game for under £5 that gives you this much bang for your buck then give me a bell – I’ve not found any yet! Superb! Get…Now!

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