Arkanoid DS
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-08-03 Nintendo DS Arcade E (Everyone) Taito / Square Enix

Arkanoid... wow, I really don't remember how many hours I used to sit in front of the computer and play it. In some afternoons, me and a couple of friends would take turns playing it.You'd figure bouncing a ball off a paddle to break some bricks would be the most boring thing in the world. How could something so simple be so addictive?

The return of Arkanoid on the DS proves to have the same old-school flavor and all the addictiveness as it did when I first played it. Just hearing that little jingle from the level start made me smile. But better yet, the game is now portable and packed with a bunch of brand new features.

Arkanoid is basically the same hit the ball, break the blocks concept. But the game now comes with five different modes with varied twists.

Clear Game is like your adventure mode. Details about the planet Arkanoid are revealed as you progress through the seven areas, each containing five levels. The way you progress is up to you, since the paths branch out as you clear the current area (a bit likein Outrun, where you would race through different zones). In total, there are 28 zones available, with all levels offering a unique layout.

Quest Game gives you a goal to achieve in a given level and awards you with points. Goals can be anything from clear the stage, clear all blocks of a given color, destroy a certain number of blocks, and more. Some will even require some strategy by giving you a limited number of times to hit the ball. You will only be able to play Quest stages that you have cleared in Clear Game, but you can play them in any order you want.

You can compete against AI in Vs. Com, either breaking all the blocks or only those of a certain color before the computer does. You can also compete against other people (two or four) through the Local Wireless Multiplayer or Wi-Fi Connection modes.

The points you accumulate can be used to trade in for backgrounds and music for your games, so you can customize your playfield with all sorts of colorful images or even with the original arcade look.

The gameplay is split vertically, and yes it is a little awkward seeing the ball disappear when it crosses that barrier between the two screens. It's also easier to control the paddle with the stylus than the D-pad.

Of course, there are plenty of power-ups to help, and some that don't help so much: multiball, enlarge paddle, reduce paddle, instantly break blocks, automatically level up and so on. An extra feature at the start of the game lets you choose the number of times your ball can touch the barrier below the paddle. If you increase this number, you will get considerably less bonus points if you clear the level without touching the barrier.

Originally released in 1986, Arnakoid seems to have aged like a good wine. It's still fun and easy to play, but now with new modes including multiplayer, more power-ups and an array of cool and colorful backgrounds to customize your game with. Yet another great makeover for an old Taito favorite.

Special thanks to Klee Kuo and Square Enix for providing a copy of this title.