PS3 Reviews: Hyperballoid HD Review

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Hyperballoid HD Review

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Graphics:

 

7.0

Gameplay:

 

7.9

Sound:

 

7.2

Control:

 

7.7

Replay Value:

 

7.0

Overall Rating:       7.3

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Alawar Entertainment

Developer:

iSquared Games

Number Of Players:

1-2

Genre:

Action

Release Date:

April 22, 2010

Online services like the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live have allowed veteran gamers to relive old-fashioned formulas and new gamers to appreciate the good ‘ol days when simplicity and purity reigned. This is why we’ve already seen slick, highly entertaining nods to the past like Shatter and Magic Orbz. The reason I mention those two specific titles is because the current game in question, Hyperballoid HD, is yet another brick-breaking title that builds off the likes of Arkanoid. It’s certainly fun and reminds us a lot of the aforementioned downloadable goodies, but it seems to lack a bit of pizzazz; Shatter boasted a bad-ass soundtrack and the unique gameplay twist of controlling the blocks by “blowing” and “sucking.” Magic Orbz provides us with specially-themed levels, even though it was admittedly simpler and not as stylized. Hyperballoid HD, while it works just fine, doesn’t really boast anything special.

The graphics are an interesting mix of two distinctly different worlds; one is darker and based on concepts like Egyptian history and mythology, while the other is closer to Shatter and features a futuristic, sci-fi setting. The latter is quite nice and at least a little flashy but the former really lacks a lot of spark, despite the interesting addition of moving, “bustable” pictures. For instance, there’s one stage where you have to break apart a ship that sails across the screen. It’s a nice visual alteration to the standard formula and it does add a bit of flair, but the colors in that first world are really quite bland and unappealing. It almost reminded me of ‘70s fashion with a lot of browns, grays and dark greens. The futuristic side of the presentation is a little better and the special effects are decent, but nothing to get too excited about, so while these graphics are somewhat lively, they’re unimpressive. It may not matter if you’re really brick-breakers, though.

The sound isn’t much better, despite a few flashes of greatness in a few of the later levels. The thing is, past games on the PSN have really spoiled us when it comes to fantastic soundtracks and effects, so even though Hyperballoid HD produces decent sound overall; it doesn’t stand up well to the competition. Music is awfully subjective, but one can fairly judge diversity and variety, and there isn’t quite enough of it, here. The sound effects, on the other hand, are sharp and relatively engaging, especially when things get a little loopy in a certain level. When you begin to snag a bunch of power-ups and the bricks start disintegrating beneath multiple projectiles, the game sounds quite good. And in fact, it should be noted that it certainly sounds better than any of the old-school brick-breakers of the past; that’s what modern technology does for you. But the point is, it really does pale in comparison to similar titles.

It’s not hard to describe Hyperballoid HD. If you’ve played Shatter or Magic Orbz, you know what a “brick-breaker” is, even if you never enjoyed the classics on which such games are based. This one adopts a vertical look like Magic Orbz, and it actually includes a lot of the same power-ups and gameplay features. For instance, there are both positive and negative pick-ups; the positive ones will grant you helpful things like multiple balls, a larger paddle, fiery balls, and sticky balls that you can catch and “throw” with the paddle. Such good pick-ups are denoted by green spheres; the bad ones are red, and can shrink the size of the ball, speed it up, or cause some other hindrance to your breakin’ progress. Therefore, you’ll want to keep the ball in play while continuing to pick up as many green spheres as possible, which is always an entertaining endeavor. Then there’s the visual differences in what we see, as mentioned in the graphical rundown.

There are also more environmental differences. For instance, there are many different kinds of blocks, and several different types of obstacles that must be bypassed in different ways. This is the one highlight of the game that sets it apart from the competition; it keeps the player playing, level after level. It makes us want to see what’s next because we don’t really feel as if we’re doing the exact same thing on each new screen, which is indeed an achievement, considering the simplicity of the gameplay. And while the visuals are hit-or-miss, I almost always enjoyed the various looks in each new level and when I finished one, I looked forward to the next. That’s a good sign, no? It’s tough to put down the controller when one is playing a game that utilizes a tried-and-true premise, which is why this game likely won’t disappoint. Furthermore, there are lots of levels within each of the stages, so you could spend a good deal of time with it, and at only $5.99, it might be worth a purchase. But we still can’t ignore the shortcomings…

The paddle really doesn’t seem to move fast enough, it can be very difficult to keep your eye on the ball in particularly cluttered levels, and with a decided lack of flash and intensity, it sort of feels a little bland. Remember, we really do have to compare this to other titles of a similar nature and while I’d say it’s on par with Magic Orbz (which I also had fun with), it can’t stand up to the excellence of Sidhe’s Shatter; technically our runner-up for Downloadable Game of the Year in 2009. On the other hand, I suppose if you’ve had your fill of such titles already, Hyperballoid HD is a fairly safe purchase; you know what to expect and it’s a guarantee that you’ll enjoy yourself for a while. The question is whether or not it’s worth your six bucks and how long you think you’ll spend with the latest brick-breaker. The variations of backgrounds and objects is what makes it worthwhile in my eyes, but I’m willing to admit this may not be the opinion of others.

5/1/2010 Ben Dutka

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Comments (29 posts)

NeoHumpty
Saturday, May 01, 2010 @ 10:44:56 PM
Reply

Thanks. I still have plenty of trophies to earn on Shattered, and haven't even finished Magic Orb (or whatever they call it this week). I appreciate all your reviews.

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fluffer nutter
Saturday, May 01, 2010 @ 11:25:30 PM

I agree.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 12:33:07 AM
Reply

NO.

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Qubex
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 12:43:23 AM

Lol World!

Actually, I think as this generation continues to progress, people are becoming very specific of what they purchase.

"Damage" to the wallet is what is probably making people very very choosy these days. I think even for the smaller so called "cheap purchasers", my assumption is people would rather put their money toward titles like Red Dead Redemption (or the like).

Every dollar counts these days, and whilst I think PSN does a good job at churning out these blasts from the pasts... every purchase is less to put toward a decent AAA game that is really worthy of the collection... giving you something to come back to in the future too.

My favourite PSN purchases however, thus far, have been SuperStarDust HD and Trine. Flower was also a great purchase and Warhawk. That is all I have purchased from PSN in the past 4 years. Actually, throw in the PS1 classics - Crash Bandicoot and you have a small, but winning PSN collection I think. Outrun from Sega looks good, but have yet to purchase it. My PSN purchases are limited, but even with these, I only want the best.

With PS Move coming out soon... I hope PSN doesn't get inundated with these types of party titles... I hope quality will remain key.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Last edited by Qubex on 5/2/2010 12:44:23 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 12:54:25 AM

that's the problem, I don't want a hopped up version of some ancient breakout game or tetris. I have a cell phone for that sort of thing and only when I'm waiting somewhere and can do nothing more. What I WOULD purchase is a hopped up version of the old NES games, gimme some castlevania and Zelda clones or something. How about a Final Fantasy ripoff in classic graphics with a great story? That would be so easy to make and it would make lots of money. So far the only thing that compares is Bionic Commando Rearmed. Maybe Fat Princess.

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Qubex
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 2:35:40 AM

Yes, I have to agree with that World. There are better "classic" games worth converting, games that in their time, were actually AAA. These would be nice remade into HD classics and I think would sell well.

You see how Live Arcade has bombed for the xBots. Recently they put a halt on releases for it. I don't think they had enough material to release, and there were other problems they were dealing with.

Again, good old classic arcade games that were the best during their time should be converted to HD, but not just any old breakout or tetris clone... there are alot of classics worth converting that would be nice to have... maybe PS Move will get companies to convert more of the classics worth having... or maybe not... it just depends what PSN ends up becoming... hopefully not an over-bloated-crapola-Apple-iTunes-but-worse wanna be...

Sony really needs to be selective and they should have a AAA status for PSN only releases too, to keep that quality of product at peak across the board.

The same attitude should be used for Home, and the associated in-game spaces and mini-games. If they are crap, of poor quality, then out they should go.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Last edited by Qubex on 5/2/2010 2:39:09 AM

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djduke316
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 3:59:54 PM

You just described 2 WiiWare titles, specifically Castlevania and Final Fantasy.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 7:09:01 PM

Yeah but who would buy a wii?

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ColTater
Thursday, May 06, 2010 @ 3:09:37 PM

World, is WKC worth $17.99? It is on GF for that price used, but I am still reluctant after the so so fanfare it has recieved.

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Condemnedsoul23
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 1:27:20 AM
Reply

This game is actually pretty cool. Let's face it. Most of the games out now are very fun but stressful and this is a nice brak. You only use like one button and it's far from fast paced although that can be considered a con as well. Some of the levels can take like 30 minutes to clear if the ball doesn't bounce the way you want it to but all in all for the price it's pretty decent but Shattered is a lot better. If you want to game while taking a break from something more hardcore without going as simple as Flower this is a nice in between to me. Too each their own though.

My girlfriend who hardly ever plays anything other than Peggle played the first 50 levels of this straight through and the next day she was willing to play Super Street Fighter IV so I am for anything that gets her to get her game on.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 1:51:04 AM

What we need for a stress reliever is a DOA Volleyball game on PS3.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 8:12:57 PM

World speaks the truth.

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Alienange
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 1:45:29 AM
Reply

Fire up my PS3 to play the latest incarnation of Arkanoid? No thanks. My time is gobbled up by the massive amount of quality games I have sitting on my shelf. I just recently got Just Cause 2 and WKC. Those two alone will take me a year to finish ... never mind FFXIII that's already got about 10 hours of play. I can't be spending my valuable gaming time on Arkanoid.

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Qubex
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 2:38:41 AM

That's exactly it...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 3:08:46 AM

WKC is so customizable and upgradable and tweakable, I have fun just turning it on and messing with settings, putting together armor, building up weapons, I love that game.

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Qubex
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 4:18:15 AM

What are the online towns like?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Banky A
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 7:09:37 AM

Damn right World. Level 5 are just pro's at this stuff.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 3:16:47 PM

Just like any town in an RPG you might imagine, I haven't fully built mine yet but I've been in others. I'm still focused on the story and quests :)

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Taha1
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 4:33:33 AM
Reply

yeah, i love me some blowing and sucking

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Deleted User
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 7:25:14 AM
Reply

Love your reviews Ben. But I sometimes feel something missing. Inept ability of a verdict. You have enough space in the "rating box" for a stamp of approval. Let's say "BUY IT" in bold or go Roger Ebert and use the "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" to your score. It's difficult to comprehend reviews. The department where, "yeah, I had fun but the fun wasnt long."

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djduke316
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 4:02:46 PM

DO NOT mention Ebert in a video game thread! LOL

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 8:14:36 PM

You want black and white in a venue where there is no such thing.

Sorry. But if you read my reviews rather than just looking at numbers, I'm relatively certain the vast majority are capable of determining whether they want to try the game or not.

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JackC8
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 7:53:21 AM
Reply

I tried playing one of those "brick breaker" games on the PS2 and without some type of proper joystick, it absolutely sucked. It wasn't really playable. This actually might be fun it you got a decent peripheral.

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goodgamer
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 1:15:58 PM
Reply

remember the ps1 IQ game that was like rolling blocks that come at you and crush u, that was fun .

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Doosharm
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 1:37:17 PM

Intelligent Qube I think, right? I never got the game but I had a demo that I played constantly. If that hit the PSN I would grab it for sure.

As for other block breakers, I tend to pass up stuff like this. But I did recently grab Peggle and I've had an absolute blast with it so far.

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Rings0fUranus
Sunday, May 02, 2010 @ 4:11:34 PM
Reply

i just bought after burner climax and secret of monkey island off PSN. they're both rad.

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King James
Monday, May 03, 2010 @ 3:19:03 AM
Reply

I'll just stick w/ Shatter.

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GuinnessGulper
Monday, May 03, 2010 @ 1:17:57 PM
Reply

You mention the slowness of the paddle, but once I discovered the L1/R1 buttons that turbo the thing, it was no longer an issue! Hopefully you were aware of those buttons during your review :)

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Kevin5
Tuesday, May 04, 2010 @ 12:47:44 PM
Reply

This is one of those games that on first initial thought i would snub at. But i would start playing for about 5 minutes just to convince myself it is nothing special but in truth i will be absorbed by the nostalgia & come time to put down the game i've realised it's reached midnight & have been playing it for hours.

The old KOF arcade games use to do that to me & these revamped yesteryear classics can do the same.

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