'Em All attempts to break out of the Break Out mold,
but does it succeed?
by Cole Smith
26, 2006 - Break
Em All follows the well-trodden path blazed
by BreakOut and even the original video game, Pong.
This is a block busting, ball deflecting game that
is so similar to Arkanoid that Im sure a lawsuit
was considered. As a basic puzzle-style arcade game
its not terrible but it seriously lacks depth,
especially with the unpredictable ball physics. Break
Em All might make a nice diversion but its
clearly in the novelty category and should be rented
first, even at its current budget price.
simpler gameplay concept would be difficult to fabricate.
Hit the bouncing ball with your paddle and have it
destroy the blocks that it comes in contact with.
Its like a solo version of Pong. There is a
multi-player mode, but its a free-for-all survival
mode that is so chaotic its not even funny.
Up to eight players can take part in it and
they all share the same screen. The tiny screen makes
this experience impossible to enjoy. Its further
hampered by the ball physics which results in a random
style of gameplay where the winner may as well be
determined by a roll of the dice. Its too bad
because this multi-player mode has potential. Not
only are you managing to stay alive by protecting
your paddles weak spot but you have the ability
to eliminate the other players by hitting their weak
spots. There is also a four-player version of the
Quest mode which is a lot less frenetic in which the
players compete for the highest score. Its kind
of a letdown after you witness the wasted potential
of the survival mode.
control system is unique for a game like this and
actually works very well, despite the irregular ball
physics that makes some aspects of this game a game
of chance rather than a game of skill. The paddle
is controlled by placing the stylus on it and moving
it back and forth horizontally across the bottom of
the screen. This gives you direct control over the
paddle rather than pressing a couple of buttons or
twisting an oversized knob. You feel more connected
are the key to diversity in this game. If it werent
for them, things would get boring very quickly. The
power-ups allow the gameplay to become more challenging
in a variety of ways. They can be used strategically
to help you with the ever-changing levels and at the
same time they also allow for the levels to become
more diverse and challenging.
the outset of the game you can choose the power-ups
that you want to being with. They are presented in
pairs, and you are allowed to choose only one of them
from each pair. Some will make the paddle bigger,
some will slow the ball down and others will cause
the ball to become more destructive. To access the
power-ups you just tap the icon on the screen with
choosing fewer, or no power-ups at all at the beginning
of the game, you will be in a position to score more
points and ultimately bigger, and better power-ups
that will certainly come in handy for the upcoming
challenges. The levels themselves become more interesting
as you encounter various blocks that require different
techniques to destroy them. Some blocks have to be
hit five times, others can only be destroyed by hitting
them on the side. There are blocks that are not solid
in which the ball can pass through as though it were
water, and then there are blocks that cant be
destroyed at all no matter what you hit them with.
Arkanoid fans will enjoy the variety of these challenges.
The difficulty level continually increases but after
a couple of hours of play you have seen virtually
all of the features. Although the game purports to
have more than a couple of million randomly-generated
level variations, only the die-hard Arkanoid fans
will find favor which each slightly altered level.
The changes are just not drastic enough to impress
the casual gamer.
add more diversity and a slightly different challenge
there are boss battles at the end of each level. These
can be unusually tough but not in a good way. The
bosses will throw all kinds of things at you such
as obstacles to protect their target which you only
have to hit once. Obviously hitting this target is
no easy task. It takes a great deal of precision not
to mention forethought in figuring out how to bank
the ball off of the various obstacles. The challenge
in itself is not the problem, the problem is with
the ball physics. While launching the ball off of
your paddle on a hard angle is possible, its
virtually impossible to do it with any consistency.
As many times as Ive had the ball line up at
the end of my paddle and quickly jerked it away, I
was often unable to get it to go in the intended direction.
Sometimes it ended up going in the opposite direction.
I dont know whats up with that but as
I mentioned earlier, skill obviously doesnt
play a huge role in this game. When youre facing
off against a boss at the end of a level, and faced
with the prospect of starting over, things can get
aspect of the game, from the graphics to the sound
and the gameplay is a textbook example of what you
would expect from a generic budget title. There is
little that is unique about this game with the exception
of some interesting level designs. The music is quirky
and has a bit of a fun, arcade vibe to it but it wears
thin after a while due to repetition. The graphics,
in some levels, are even more simplistic looking than
the original arcade version of Arkanoid. The flat,
2D presentation looks more like an amateur Flash creation
than something that Nintendo would be proud to have
inserted into their coveted DS. The sound effects
are also basic with weak sounding bleeps and pops.
Em All is not big on presentation, and that
could easily be overlooked if the ball physics wasnt
broken. I would seriously advise that you rent this
game first because the more difficult it gets, the
more control you will have to exert over the ball
and that just isnt going to happen. Youre
guaranteed to have at least an hour or two of fun
out of this title but after that youre on your
in Three Different Exciting Modes
will break'em all in a variety of gameplay modes
as Tokoton mode allows players to maneuver through
more than 3 million variations of randomly generated
levels; Survival mode lets 2-8 players fight for
dominance; Quest mode lets the single player out-duel
12 challenging end-level bosses or allows 2-4 players
to race to the end of each level and compete for
the highest score.
will test their skills as they strive for multiple
records to set and break: High Score, Maximum Rallies,
Bricks Broken, Time and Stages reached.
Screen Control Control your paddle with pin-point
accuracy using the touch pad and stylus.
a Master of All Witness your evolution throughout
the game as your score climbs higher. Go from a
simple amoeba to the Supreme Break'em Master of
Player or Multiplayer Gameplay Modes Play through
the game solo, or with up to 8 players using wireless
Bonus Power-Ups Select from 12 diverse bonus powers
for your ball: bombs, lasers, mirror, fast, catch,
slow, 5-way, and more!