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 Nervous Brickdown

I have to be honest with you when I first heard that there was a new version of “Breakout” coming for the Nintendo DS my eyes glazed over and my fingers twitched with dread. I mean c’mon, not another one! There must be a bunch of lame-ass clones of the classic “Breakout” on the market as it is and they never, ever add anything new and exciting to the genre.

Until now that is!

After playing Arkedo's “Nervous Brickdown” for the Nintendo DS, I take back all of my unkind words and doubts. And while it doesn't deviate too much from the paddle-and-ball mechanic it does add a few unique gameplay twists.

I can see how it would be a huge challenge for any developer to create a new spin on an old concept that is as old as time, (well at least as old as videogames) but Arkedo has done just that!

So drop everything, and be prepared to do tons of different things beyond the old “catch ball on paddle” action like coloring your own backgrounds and drawing your own paddle.

Feeling apprehensive and jittery all of a sudden? I think you’re having a Nervous Brickdown!

Don’t fight it, and don’t waste time calling your doctor. There’s no known cure. Just give up and give into your next new addiction.

Symptom 1: Smiling

Granted, the object is the same as it's always been: Use a paddle to bounce a ball towards a row of bricks. The goal is to clear all the bricks without the ball slipping by your paddle. Simple as that.

Honestly, this is gaming 101, folks.

Breakout's been around for so long and in so many different ways that if you haven't seen at least one version I'd say you're living under something a rock, or in this case more like a mountain!

The thing that sets “Nervous Brickdown” apart from the pack is that it constantly throws new challenges at you that keep it from feeling stale and boring.

Quite a bit can change on you in a blink of an eye and this makes every level feel unique and special, not just the same thing you just played.

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Here are some examples of the different ways you can play:

Arcade- the main game has 10 worlds and many different levels in each world, plus bonuses you can unlock as you play.

Shuffle- is a quick blast of action. At first it is locked and unavailable, but you can unlock this mode by defeating the 4th boss within the game.

Multi- play with a friend co-operatively not nearly as fun as it sounds with players taking turns bumping a single ball around (sadly there’s no vs.). The way that it is played is that each player can only hit the ball when it changes into their paddles color and the ultimate goal is to get the highest score possible. Co-op play was kinda fun I guess, still a VS. Mode would have been a whole lot cooler.

But the good thing is its single-card play which means only one of you has to actually shell out the $29.99.

The controls couldn’t be easier; the DS stylus is all you need to tap-drag your paddle around. The sound is really good and a big surprise here. If you’re a fan of music that’s quirky and catchy, crank your DS speakers. Otherwise…no, there is no “otherwise”. Just crank ‘em!

Symptom 2: Addiction

“Nervous Brickdown” is appropriately named, as the game eases you in to the basic gameplay and then wastes no time in hitting you over the head with frantic action and colorful graphics that will stun you, confuse you, and wow you.

After you clear the first 10 levels and move on to the next stage, things start getting a little strange to say the least. You'll travel through a haunted house where you'll need to blow into the DS's microphone to bust ghosts, use a submarine to save people from drowning or from getting eaten by hungry sharks, neon-colored bumpers suddenly start appearing from weird places, some are curved and twisted to make the ball bounce in some pretty unusual directions. And don’t even get me started on the boss fights, in other words don't expect to just drag the ball around fighting the rather unusual enemies. For example, Paper Boss can only be finished by filling up jars of paint, and then squirting them on him. Let’s just leave it at that, shall we?

Does it sound like any ol’ Breakout game you’ve ever played before? Yeah, not to me either!

Love it!

With its great look, as well as it’s many new cool gameplay twists and turns, “Nervous Brickdown” is addictive and a blast to play.

I enjoyed it so much that I might even go as far as saying it came pretty darn close to reinventing the wheel… well at least …the paddle!

Get Nervous Brickdown Here

Graphics B+
Sound B+
Pickup & Play C
Overall Fun B+

Posted by oxyjen on Aug 23, 2007


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