Get ready for one of the most wildly frenetic “Breakout” games ever released: Ricochet Infinity from Reflexive Entertainment is poised to redefine the “brick breaking” genre with incredible 3-D graphics, imaginative levels, awesome power-ups and virtually limitless replayability.
Gamezebo was offered some serious hands-on time with this sci-fi arcade game so we could give you a sneak peak. Here’s the scoop:
Due out in July, this fourth game in the Ricochet series – which has already generated more than 20 million downloads in six years – takes gamers in outer space in charge of powerful spaceships, each with their own special abilities. But before we get to what’s unique with Ricochet Infinity, let’s quickly go over what a “break breaking” game is.
Similar to classic arcade games from the late ’70s and early ’80s, Ricochet Infinity challenges players to move a paddle (in this case, a spaceship) left and right to keep a ball afloat so that it won’t hit on the ground. The object of the game is to guide the ball into bricks on top of the screen, which breaks them into pieces; when all bricks have been removed, the player advances to the next level, where a new brick pattern is laid out. Some bricks cannot be broken, while others may require two or three hits in order to break.
Power-ups can be caught as they fall from the top of the screen, which can give temporary special abilities such as multi-ball, bomb, paddle extender, shield, laser blaster (to help blow apart bricks by firing a gun) and sticker (the ball sticks to the paddle until you aim and shoot it back towards the bricks). You can also catch an extra life. But keep in mind you must also avoid power-ups with a negative effect (power-downs?), such as a paddle shrinker, or in the case with this game, a missile that blows up your ship.
OK, so you already know all this right? You’ve played Arkanoid and Breakout clones for years, you say? Well, you haven’t seen anything like Ricochet Infinity.
For one, all the levels take place around various planets in the galaxy, with a unique spaceship as a paddle every few levels and a cute blue alien looking on as you blast away at metallic bricks, bombs and other objects in space. The bricks are all in 3-D and smoothly animated — in fact, some bricks will fly around in an elliptical pattern like satellites – so trying to hit some of these moving targets could be challenging. The designs of these bricks have to be seen to be believed, including one that resembles a huge metal car driving up and over rolling hills, complete with wheels that act like bombs. Other bricks have a lock and key effect (you need to hit one before unlocking the other) or bricks might look like slot machines, so when all three or more bricks sport the same icon inside, they all explode. Gamers can also collect gold rings by hitting them with the ball, which goes towards your next rank upgrade, and also earn awards for performing well.
Spaceships you collect by advancing throughout the game each have a special ability: one might be a fast acid ball (to eat through bricks), while others might cause a 3-way split multi-ball or a powerful laser ball.
Even cooler is the ability to “recall” the ball instead of letting it run its course. Simply press down on the right-mouse button and move the mouse right or left to guide it back to you – or to bricks, as some levels require you to hit bricks instead of your own spaceship.
Finally, not only is there the main linear game with 200+ levels, unlockable chapters, alien worlds and spaceships — and literally thousands of downloadable community-made levels (under “Other Galactic Adventures”) — but there are also three multiplayer “Mouse Party” options, which requires two mice attached to the same PC: one is a cooperative mode, another is a competitive mode and a third is a “Tailgunner” option, where one player controls the ship and the other controls the ball.
Without question, Ricochet Infinity is one ambitious, modernized version of the classic Breakout that will impress even the finickiest of gamers. Be sure to download the game when it debuts next month.