Ambi-ON introduces a new way to play a very old game
Breakout is like checkers. As far as I know, it’s been around forever and probably always will be. I couldn’t tell you the first time I played it, but like checkers — like go fish, like hopscotch, like kickball — it’s one of those games that I remember just always being there when I was a kid. Whether it was on an arcade machine in some restaurant or on my family’s first desktop, Breakout was one of those games I grew up with — like Asteroids or Pong or Pac-Man.
For the most part Breakout has remained unchanged since then — probably because there’s not much reason to change it. You move around a paddle, bounce a ball at bricks and break them. It’s an elegant system. It has that right balance of risk and reward, immediate gratification with a touch of forward thinking.
But developer Winning Blimp has decided that this classic Breakout formula still has plenty of room to grow. And from the looks of what they’re cooking up, they might be right.
Their new title Ambi-ON is a twist on Breakout — about a 90 degree twist. Ambi-ON is pretty much what you’d expect from a Breakout game, except instead of the bricks being situated at the top of the screen, they occupy the middle in a vertical column. Instead of moving a paddle along the bottom, you control two paddles on the right and left. This isn’t exactly a redefinition of the genre — is Breakout a genre? — but it’s definitely an interesting take.
Ambi-ON looks good too. A sci-fi veneer gives the game more atmosphere than the average Breakout clone. It even comes with a story. Apparently Ambi-ON takes place in a mining colony on a faraway moon in a faraway star system. Your mission is to clear a parasitic threat from this mine. I imagine you’ll mostly be playing to break bricks and rack up a high score though.
Either way, Ambi-ON looks like a lot of fun. Expect it on the iPhone this September.