Faithful followers of block-busting arcade action, rejoice! You’re hereby invited to worship at the altar of the Temple of Bricks.
While play hardly proves a religious experience, rest assured none will walk away disappointed from a jaunt amongst its hallowed (and heart rate-boosting) halls. Or, for that matter, fail to find themselves tempted by the prospect of tithing in exchange for a complete look at the game’s 200-odd, habit-forming levels.
Cast in the mold of classics like Arkanoid – not to mention more recent gems such as LEGO Bricktopia and Bricks of Atlantis – play proves instantly intuitive. Wandering an ancient shrine of South American origin (note the detailed Incan- and Mayan-influenced stonework adorning each stage background), your task is simple: Smash everything in sight.
Armed with a paddle, located at the bottom of the screen and controlled by moving the mouse horizontally in either direction, doing so couldn’t be easier… at least, in theory. Succeeding simply requires repeatedly batting a ball into crumbling pillars, painstakingly carved murals and gem-encrusted ornaments until they crack beneath the force of your onslaught. Of course, it’s up to you always keep the ball in play – let it whiz past you, and you’ll lose one of the handful of lives offered, bringing you that much closer to defeat.
Fear not, however… A nifty (if highly familiar) selection of power-ups helps tip the scales in your favor. Just a few of the many bonuses -along with score-boosting jewels and dollar signs – that you can collect upon shattering certain blocks:
- Cannons – Let you blast away with dual guns which make short work of featured architecture.
- Lasers – A single, hyper-powered beam that shoots forward in a straight line with enough intensity to annihilate anything in its path.
- Size/Speed Adjustments – Grow and shrink your paddle or speed up/slow down the ball.
- Multi-Ball – Turns one ball into three, giving you more destructive potential – and more headaches to worry about.
- Explosives – Allow the ball to smash through multiple bricks in a single fell swoop by releasing tremendous concussive force on contact.
What’s more, a snazzy inventory system – split between the left and right sides of the screen – lets you monitor your supply of ammo and spare lives at a glance. Meaning that while the upgrade options on offer aren’t particularly noteworthy (extras are par for the genre and loot can’t be spent between scenarios buying goods or paddle enhancements), they’ll amuse nonetheless. Ditto for featured special effects, which, despite lacking polish (sparkling light trails look fantastic, but not the textual descriptions displayed in a plain font which often accompany them), still prove catchy.
We’re especially fond of little touches like one’s ability to knock precious stones of their mounting and blocks which burst in a spray of dust and debris. Akin to the lone play mode on offer, they won’t leave you awe-struck per se, yet pleased nonetheless. (An option to compete against fellow players worldwide via online scoreboards doesn’t hurt either.)
The obvious takeaway being that Temple of Bricks doesn’t attempt to revolutionize upon a time-tested recipe for wrist-cramping fun. Just buff it up a little bit by adding inventive level designs (watch out for dynamite and indestructible barriers) and an engaging pseudo-historical backdrop. But hey, you know what they say. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
Rather than scrap a winning formula, the game instead follows its blueprint to the letter while introducing a few clever, low-key touches that improve upon the basic equation. Don’t expect any epiphanies here – merely a fun way to kill time between bigger, better digital diversions.