iPhone Life magazine

Review: Draw Breaker by Elevate Entertainment

It used to be that I’d start every review about a brick breaker style game saying something about how I don’t really like the genre but… I think I need to stop doing that now.  Either I’ve become more selective in the ones that I try or they really do keep getting better, because I’m actually finding myself enjoying the concept more each time I write a review.  This time around the subject is Draw Breaker, the latest game from Elevate Entertainment, and this game is a blast!  It’s cute, creative and different than any brick breaker I’ve played in the past.

Skull Beam
 

It seems that Professor Blockowski has gone and got himself all bent out of shape because a round headed world didn’t see fit to make a square helmet to fit his noggin.  In exchange for this oversight he has vowed to make the world square, and to add insult to injury he’s going to take everything over with some quadrilateral creatures.  The thing is, the monsters just happen to attack in brick breaker style formations, giving you ample opportunity to test out your paddle drawing skills in order to vanquish your foes.  You have 45 levels to prove your prowess, with 9 levels covering each of 5 chapters.  There’s an endless mode on the way as well, which will greatly boost the replay factor of the game.

What makes this brick-breaking variant unique is the fact that there is no paddle to slide back and forth.  Instead, you simply draw a line wherever you want the paddle to appear.  While at first it might seem like this would make the game too easy, it actually brings a great deal of strategy to the game.  You can plan your shots to maximize combos and consequently your score and you must always be sure your timing is such that the ball doesn’t inadvertently slip between the old paddle and the new one that you’ve just drawn.  As a result it is still possible to lose the ball to the bottom of the screen, at which point one of your lives will vanish.  If a creature makes it below a certain point on the screen you’ll lose a life as well.  When all lives are over you must restart the current chapter, though previously conquered chapters remain so.

Fever Mode
 

The other really cool feature of this game is the creatures.  Almost every one has some sort of ability, and while discovery is half the fun, I’ll share a couple of my favorites.  One creature consumes the ball and spits it back out before dying, and another splits into multiple creatures that show up in random locations the first time it is hit.  Learning how to use these critters’ abilities to your advantage goes a long way in earning you high scores.  There are also Game Center achievements to earn which bolster your score multiplier.  In the end your score determines the number of stars you receive, which is per chapter and not per level.  If you hope to earn three stars in any particular chapter you’ll really have to refine your skills.

The graphics are quite charming.  The backgrounds are pretty minimalistic, but that’s okay because the focus should be on the creatures anyway.  I love the designs for the different bricks, and some of the animations are actually humorous.  The sound effects do a wonderful job of complimenting the characters’ looks, as each one has its own noises.  I also like the little quips that the professor makes from time to time.  The music is kind of catchy, and there’s a different tune for each chapter, which is always nice.

Chapter Select
 

If you’re a fan of brick breakers, I’m not really even sure why you’ve made it this far without buying the game yet.  If you’re new to the genre or haven’t really cared for any of the entries you’ve played in the past, I really encourage you to give Draw Breaker a try.  The paddle drawing mechanic alone makes the game worth it, but when you throw in the silly atmosphere and inventive brick types this is an instant winner.  I just can’t wait to see what tricks they have up their sleeve for endless mode.

Overall Score: 9/10
App Store Link

This game was reviewed on an iPod Touch 4 running iOS 5.1.1.

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.