The 80s arcade classics Breakout and Arkanoid have inspired a slew of titles that all use the premise of breaking blocks with a bouncing ball using a paddle that slides along the bottom of the screen. Each new Breakout-inspired game tries to introduce new innovations to keep the formula fresh, whether it’s 3D graphics, state-of-the-art physics, unique power ups, or immersive storylines.
Treasure of the Deep’s twist is combining 3-D graphics with an underwater theme. Blocks of various colors and geometric shapes are stacked on top of each other, forming cool fortresses, giant rotating structures, and objects that slide up and down and from side to side.
There are also treasure chests to break open and coins and gems to collect as you navigate through 112 undersea-themed levels laid out as an old-style treasure map.
A variety of objects and items add to the on-screen mayhem. These include ball keepers that release an extra ball onto the playfield when hit, teleporters that move the ball to different parts of the screen, super balls that tear straight through any kind of block instead of bouncing off them, and power-ups that slow down and speed up the ball or increase and decrease the size of the paddle.
There are also treacherous mine blocks that, when hit and released, fall towards the bottom of the screen destroying the paddle if they come in contact with it. When a rail block is touched, it flies forward destroying all blocks in its path. Similarly, rocket blocks, when hit, deploy rockets that fly around the screen destroying blocks. These can actually be collected with the paddle to fuel a rocket launcher operated with the left mouse button.
Each level is cleared after all blocks on the screen (except the indestructible ones) have been destroyed by the ball. If a ball falls below the paddle and out of the playing field, you lose one of your handful of precious lives. If you lose all your lives you won’t be forced to start back at the beginning, thankfully, but your score will go back to zero.
The sheer amount of stuff that frequently clogs the screen – whether it’s the massive (and moving) block structures, the plethora of power-ups or the constantly falling gems and coins that must be collected with the paddle before they fall off the bottom of the playfield – makes the experience a stimulating one indeed. The wonderful “crunch” of a ball plowing through the large, meaty structures like a wrecking ball is also enough to satisfy anyone’s inner Godzilla.
Whether you crave this kind of action or shy away from it depends completely on how you enjoy your games. Be advised, though: Treasures of the Deep is not for the faint of heart or the slow of reflex. In fact, the action can get a little too crazy at times, and it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the ball given everything else that’s moving around on the screen.
Treasures of the Deep also isn’t terribly innovative. The 3-D playing field that allows blocks to be stacked on top of each other is a great concept, but Treasures of the Deep is hardly the first Breakout-inspired game to be rendered in 3-D. Nor is it the first Breakout-inspired game to use an underwater theme (Bricks of Atlantis did it in 2-D).
Moreover, the undersea theme – which has all kinds of potential – is an underused concept in Treasures of the Deep seeming almost as an afterthought tacked on because it’s popular on the casual games circuit these days (just take a look at Big Kahuna Reef, Fish Tycoon, or Hidden Expedition: Titanic, as examples). There are no underwater-specific power-ups or environmental features to interact with. In fact, the game could just as easily take place above ground if the graphics were slightly altered to get rid of the fish swimming in the background
While Treasures of the Deep doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, it’s certainly one of the more frenetic games to come out of the Breakout tradition. It’s as fast-paced and fun on level 100 as it is on level 1… a bragging point that not all brick-breaking games can claim.