Also On: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC
Arkanoid is one of those titles you either absolutely love or absolutely hate. At it’s core, its a simple Breakout style game where your bat (or ship) at the bottom tries to keep a bouncing ball on the playfield to wipe out bricks and move on to the next area. New elements, such as Aliens blocking your ball, and ship powerups were added to separate it from being a 100% clone of Breakout and to add a bit of strategy. Now with Arkanoid: Eternal Battle, we get new visuals, multiplayer and versus modes, and an all new single player experience.
The main appeal of this release is the online multiplayer Battle mode. You and 24 other players are placed against each other to maintain a high score to avoid being eliminated by the big boss alien “DOH”. As time ticks away, the player that’s in last place will be destroyed until there are only 4 players remaining. You have to get as many points as you can to stay in the top 4, and it’s a lot tougher than it sounds. Every power up available in the single player game can also be used here, as well as a player attack power that can damage the player on your left or your right. If you are in last place, it’s beneficial to attack anyone in front of you (or to the Right) with the hopes of taking their spot, while attacking behind you (or to the left) can secure your place for a little while longer. There is no stock of lives in this mode, but failing to catch a ball will result in some score loss, which can lead you to destruction. Making it to the top 4 will place you and the other 3 players left in a battle against DOH himself. Survive this, and you are the winner!
The next new mode is the 2-4 player (Local) versus mode. You can compete locally with up to 4 players simultaneously. Since all 4 players are on one screen, it can be a little confusing at times, but it’s still pretty fun. This mode does have a stock of lives for each player and no player attack powers, the last one standing wins! If you don’t want to compete online, or don’t have anyone locally to compete with, then there are single player options as well. “Neo” is a sort-of sequel to the original where DOH has returned and it’s up to you to eliminate his puzzles and enter a final showdown with him. Each puzzle becomes increasingly difficult as you progress and it gets harder to control your ball with all the objects it will bounce off of. If you are feeling nostalgic, the arcade original Arkanoid is also included, presented with a classic arcade environmental border around the screen. It’s a pretty cool way to include the original arcade game this way as it does feel like you are in a dimly lit arcade while playing.
Control here is simple but it does take a bit of getting used to. The precision of the original games spinner control is sorely missed since using a control pad or analog stick doesn’t give you that complete control feeling. Pressing ZL or ZR (on the Switch Joy-Con/controller) can make your ship dash in either direction if you are moving too slow to catch the ball, but it does very little to help when the action is getting heated. You’ll be missing many shots that could of been avoided if you had the original spinner, but overall it’s not as bad as it could be.
The sensitivity can be adjusted to your own comfort in the options menu which can help a little if your having a lot of trouble. The visuals in the new modes are nice to look at but largely empty as to not be too distracting. As you level up in Eternal Battle, you can unlock background skins that add some flair, but they are nothing spectacular. Not much to talk about in the sound department outside of ambient music tracks and arcade sound effects (when playing the original game). Nothing looks or sounds out of place though as everything ties in nicely together.
If you are a fan of Arkanoid, or just Breakout games in general then you will enjoy Arkanoid: Eternal Battle. The classic feel of the original mixed with the new HD visuals is a nice fit. The new modes will offer new challenges to even the most skilled players. If this classic style of game doesn’t interest you, than this release will do nothing to change that, as there aren’t enough new elements to attract new players.
I can only recommend this if you are already a fan or like fast paced puzzle games in general. Nothing bad or horrible with this release, but also nothing groundbreaking, Just an above average classic puzzle game with a great challenge. Pick it up if you want to experience the world of Arkanoid.
Note: Microids provided us with a Arkanoid: Eternal Battle Switch code for review purposes.