I have always liked a good brick busting game. I remember Arkanoid quite fondly from when I was a kid and even as recently have been playing Shatter on my PC. One title I had never really planned to pick up was Magic Orbz on the PlayStation Network, but last year when Sony offered it cheap with their Welcome Back program, I picked it up. There was also some free addon content you could snag for free with your month of free PlayStation Plus trial. This was not a long game by any means, but I did enjoy it for the most part and it caught my wife’s eye as well with its cute visuals. Here’s a bit more of a breakdown on the specifics.
Graphics – 7:
This is a bright and colorful game that masks the ‘brick’ layout with actual buildings and hedges and other objects that fall apart when struck. These visuals caught my wife’s eye and she actually took over the controller and played for about an hour that night, and for about half an hour the next. Keep in mind she spends probably less than 15-30 minutes a month playing video games, so this was quite unusual. In some ways, the graphics are both this game’s greatest strength and weakness, because the visual style is very inviting but it can get cluttered at times and make it hard to see what it going on. I am okay with losing a ball because my reflexes were not up to snuff, but there are times when there is just so much going on at once on the screen that you cannot even see the ball until its too late.
Sound & Music – 6:
The music is pretty bland, to be perfectly honest. That is not to say it was bad music, it was not – it just was not particularly interesting either. The sound effects help as there is a fair amount of variation in them, and they seldom got repetitive. Similar to the music, the sound effects really did not impress in the end, but they served a purpose pretty well.
Gameplay – 7:
The gameplay is pretty solid, though I found the directional pad more useful than the analog stick for accurately controlling my paddle. There is a decent selection of power-ups (and power-downs) to be had which keeps things interesting. Some of the later levels were a bit challenging (some would even argue cheap) by how close to your paddle the blocks were placed.
Intangibles – 7:
There are quite a few levels, and the free expansions helped extend the fun. Still, I think you can blow through the main set in under five hours, and the side ones seemed to go even more quickly. There are trophies to collect for people who like those, and for the most part they are pretty easy to collect just by playing.
Overall – 6.75:
I would have a hard time suggesting this title at full price, but I believe I got it and the expansions for about $3 in total, and I felt pretty good about that. The steep spike in challenge around midway through the levels turned my wife off to it, and my kids though. That’s worth noting because the visuals appealed to both groups of people, but they grew tired of the (you could argue ‘cheap’) difficulty spike quickly and have never played it again. I gave it a longer run, but even if you stick with it like I did, you can get through the majority of the content pretty quickly and after doing so there is not much reason to go back to it, though there is multiplayer as an option – but one that just never appealed to me.