Breakout Video Game Clones

There are many video games spanning many platforms that are based on "brick-breaking" gameplay. The objective of any brick-breaker game is to eliminate the bricks from the stage using a bouncing ball. Once all bricks are eliminated, the stage will advance and each stage will become increasingly more difficult. Over the years, brick-breaking games have evolved from very simple like Breakout for the Atari, to action-packed with flashy graphics like Shatter for the PC.

Basic 'Breakout' Clone

Online Flash 'Breakout' clone screen capture
Online Flash 'Breakout' clone screen capture | Source

Breakout - (1976)

The release of the video game Breakout in 1976 by Atari paved the way for many video games that use brick-breaking game play. Brick-breaking games would later be commonly called Breakout clones due to the borrowed style. The original Breakout consists of a rectangular paddle that is user-controlled and highly influenced by the classic video game Pong. The paddle can only move horizontally. The objective of Breakout is to bounce a single ball off the paddle and into bricks on top of the stage without letting the ball fall below the paddle on the rebounding return. The brick will disappear once the ball contacts it. Destroying all the bricks will advance the stage.

'Arkanoid' Flash Remake Online

An 'Arkanoid' Flash remake screen capture. Available online.
An 'Arkanoid' Flash remake screen capture. Available online. | Source

Arkanoid - (1986)

Arkanoid was put out by Taito in 1986 for several home entertainment and computer operating systems. The title "Arkanoid" refers to a mother ship that the player's ship flees from. Arkanoid follows the traditional brick-breaker game play and physics. Colored bricks make up interesting and challenging designs per stage. Some bricks can withstand several contacts from the ball before being broken, while others will break on initial impact. Pickups descend from destroyed bricks, and enemies will attack starting at the top of the stage. Some beneficial pickups can be obtained by the player's ship that contain bonus points and dual cannons that fire projectiles to destroy additional bricks without having to deflect the ball into the bricks. Negative pickups make the game play more difficult and may destroy the paddle or cause the player to lose a credit. Negative pickups should be avoided entirely.

Krakout - (1987)

Krakout was released for the Commodore 64 computer system along with a few other computer systems in 1987. One of the major differences of Krakout compared to other Breakout clones is the vertical paddle movement, unlike the traditional horizontal movement in Breakout. Each stage contains multicolored bricks along with bonus pickups. Pickup bonuses have positive effects such as dual paddles. There are enemies that bounce around the stage and will destroy the ball if touched, which consequently causes the player to lose a credit/turn.

DX-Ball - (1996)

DX-Ball was released by Michael Welch in 1996 exclusively for the PC. It is a freeware game and is still available to download today. DX-Ball has traditional brick-breaker style layouts and pickups. One of the beneficial pickups flows electricity through the paddle which allows the ball to cling to it. The ball can then be relaunched back into play whenever the player wants. Negative pickups shrink the ball or paddle, which makes it difficult for the player to keep in play. There are special bricks that explode and destroy nearby bricks. The explosive bricks should be targeted once the stage begins to maximize explosive effectiveness.

Nervous Brickdown - (2007)

Nervous Brickdown was released in 2007 for the Nintendo DS. The game features classic gameplay that pays homage to earlier influences, such as Breakout and Arkanoid, while adding artistic flair to every stage. Nervous Brickdown takes advantage of the DS touchscreen by allowing the player to easily control the paddle using a stylus. As the stages progress, so does the gameplay. The player can eventually design the paddle and bricks using the stylus, as well as move the paddle freely in any direction. This adds a whole new spin on classic brick-breaking. Nervous Brickdown even makes use of the microphone by allowing the player to blow a puff of air into the mic to destroy certain enemies. The music is very reminiscent of catchy chip tunes of the 1980s, which brings about nostalgic feelings of arcade style brick destruction.

Shatter - (2009)

Shatter was released by Sidhe Interactive in 2009 for the PC and Playstation 3 console. Shatter has a few tweaks compared to original brick-breaker game play such as vertical paddle movement and a major graphics overhaul. It remains true to classic brick-smashing game play, but incorporates more user control over the bouncing ball. The paddle features a magnetic field that can deflect the ball away or attract it towards the paddle. This feature alone can greatly turn the game in favor of the player. Beneficial pickups include point multipliers and extra credits. Special bricks labeled with bio-hazard symbols explode when struck by the ball. The graphics and visuals are beautiful and flashy. Some moments of game play cover the screen in a flurry of attractive colors and explosions. Shatter is a must-have for brick-breaker gaming fans and for those who enjoy pick-up-and-play arcade style games.

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