|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sidhe||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sidhe||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 15, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Along with the boss fights, Shatter features a variety of level types that keeps the action fresh across the length of its campaign. There are typical vertical levels, horizontal stages, and even circular levels. Each requires a slightly different strategy, especially the round boards, which have less wiggle room for changing the ball's trajectory. After completing a boss fight at the end of the world, there's also a bonus level that strips those powers away from you completely - it's just you against three bouncing balls that gradually increase in speed.
Within the various stages, unique block types all react differently when struck. Some simply break, others explode and take out the bricks around them. Some launch like rockets when hit and others even send out their own repulsive force that knocks your ball off course.
Each brick type is easily recognizable thanks to a clean visual style that makes their behaviors obvious. Exploding bricks have little fallout signs, while rocket brick are triangular and point toward the direction that they'll fly when struck. Like everything in Shatter, the visuals are fairly simple but designed with enough intelligence that every key element is easily identifiable.
Upon clearing a world in Story mode, that block of stages is made available for quick play. Finish the game and you'll unlock Boss Rush mode, which allows you to face off against Shatter's delightful enemies. There's also an Unlimited mode that keeps refreshing bricks, a Time Trial mode, and even co-op versions of each. Your performance is tracked with online leaderboards, and there's even a selection of Achievement-inspired trophies. In short, there's a ton of content to be found in Shatter, whether you're playing alone or with a friend. Shatter isn't the world's most innovative game - rather, it's a loving take on a time-honored gameplay style. But, unlike many of the other games that pay homage to classic titles like Breakout, Shatter has enough original ideas that you'll never feel like you're playing more of the same. Shatter is a brilliant expansion to traditional arcade-style gameplay, and how often can you say that a new contender has improved on a classic?
J. Matthew Zoss
CCC Freelance Writer