Amazing Breaker Review
Whenever I play through something really good or really bad, it always becomes hard to decide what game to move on to next. Sometimes the thought of finding a better version of something similar is tempting, but I usually prefer to veer into a completely different (and most often simpler) genre, and that’s how I ended up playing through Amazing Breaker again; I’ve played through this game a couple of times in the past after picking it up from Amazon back when they still did their free app of the day promotions that made paid apps free for a short time, and while most of the available apps were a waste of time, there were also occasional gems like this that I’d have otherwise ignored. Amazing Breaker is just a weirdly addictive game that it becomes easy to lose chunks of time to. It has a few problems and one troublesome (potential) skeleton in its closet, of course, but at the same time, it only costs a dollar for a base game that comes with 120 entertaining levels. That makes it easy to forgive.
Okay, let’s just get all of this out in one go
I really don’t feel like posting another 3,000 word screed, so I’m going to make this short and to the point. Starting with the problems, there’s the fact that this costs 1 dollar on Amazon, 3 on Google Play, 1 dollar on Apple’s app store for the normal version, and 2 dollars on the same app store for the “HD” version. I have no idea what the difference is between all of these versions, though Google Play reviews make it clear that the 3-dollar version on that platform doesn’t come with the extra levels (available as in-app purchases, which I hate with a fiery passion), so this price disparity seems totally arbitrary. Then there’s the fact that my backed-up version from awhile back refused to start without internet. I’ve tested the most recent version available on Amazon and it both installs and runs without internet, but apps are so prone to change that it’s impossible to know if that’ll remain the case, or if that’s true of the other versions in their current states since Amazon apps tend to be a few updates behind other app stores.
Another problem I had was that tabbing out of the app or even accidentally brushing my “recent apps” button caused Amazing Breaker to restart, forcing me to go through all the menus to get back to the level I was on. This became a problem when I finished the last of the 120 base game levels—because I refuse to buy in-app purchases for anything—and the cheap-looking ending screen opened my browser to load a random website. Upon looking it up, it turns out it’s some kind of ad planted at the very end of the game, which is not only a sketchy thing to include in a paid app, but also restarted the game and took me away from the “congrats at beating the game” screen. It’s less of an issue since the site it points to doesn’t even exist anymore, but it’s still something that rubbed me the wrong way. Then there’s the crash-prone nature of the game. It may not crash randomly, but if you do something stupid and try to reset a level too quickly without giving it a second to catch up with your presses, I found that it was almost guaranteed to crash on my Galaxy S5. There’s also the fact that it’s almost identical to a free-to-play game called Ceramic Destroyer in terms of its gameplay, but after some internet sleuthing, I legitimately can’t tell who ripped off who and no longer care. Wayback Machine has snapshots of Amazing Breaker that are older than the Android version of Ceramic Destroyer, but I can find mentions of CD before the first snapshot of AB. Basically, it’d take more effort than I’m willing to expend to get to the bottom of this, and even if this game is the pretender, it’s worth playing over the alternative because CD is littered with ads whereas AB only has the one at the very end.
The gameplay here is simple and addictive. Basically, you have a few different types of bombs, and you have to use those to blow up various ice sculptures (or ice… pictures, I guess?). Removing less than 90% means having to retry the stage, removing 90-94% earns you one star, removing 95-99% earns you two stars, and removing 100% of the ice earns you three stars. The stars don’t actually seem to do anything, though, being more tied to your arbitrary score than anything, and running through the game as fast as possible (which took two and a half hours) didn’t block anything off despite frequent one-star results. Still, the times I played through the game more leisurely, I felt compelled to take my time and get three stars on each stage just for the challenge of finding a way to do so.
This challenge comes from the fact that all of the stages have different pictures in the ice, and you rarely have enough explosions to just lob them mindlessly and get it all. Instead, you have to leverage their unique qualities and make some tricky shots to get those stars. For example, the green bombs can either be used as a normal explosion, or you can tap the screen to split them into 3 bombs. These bombs don’t go off on their own, however, and have to be triggered by another bomb’s explosion (but they have to be near enough each other for that to work, represented by a glowing line between them). Purple bombs are similar, consisting of an explosive container and three bombs that all go through the ice, allowing you to take out huge chunks if you can manage to fling the bomb just hard enough to cover a lot of space while still being light enough for the charges to be close and trigger each other. It’s a simple concept complicated by a few other types of bombs (normal explosives, controllable rockets, a blue charge that goes through the ice and can have its trajectory altered by swiping at the screen while it moves), and finding the best way to maximize what you’re given at the start of a level proves to be strangely amusing. You can also pick up bombs mid-level by catching powerups in an explosion, adding another layer to the strategy present here. Amazing Breaker is easy to learn, difficult to master, and while it may not look like much when you first see it, the gameplay is tight enough to be worth the dollar (or two, or three, depending on where you get it for reasons that still make no sense to me) it costs.
Graphics and music aren’t anything special
I’m not a huge fan of the presentation here. Granted, the pictures in the ice and all that are of a high quality, but the menus are another matter entirely. The whole thing just looks weirdly cheap, and the music is repetitive and boring-ambient. Add on top of that the occasional lag and you realize that there’s really nothing outstanding about the graphics and music here. They’re functional, and the levels themselves don’t look bad, but the presentation certainly didn’t inspire a great deal of confidence when I started the game up for the very first time, and I can’t help but wonder how many people were turned off of the game because of this before even giving it a try.