BlackBerry is famous for three things: Great keyboards, great email and Brick Breaker. The popular, addictive game has been a mainstay on BBerry’s devices since virtually the beginning. And until this year, it’s been almost completely unchanged.
Much like some similar arcade and console games from the late 80s and early 90s, your goal is to destroy all the bricks in a level by bouncing a ball around the screen with the paddle. You get a set number of lives, and if you lose the ball, you lose a life. Simple premise, but difficult to master.
Depending on which device you had, you controlled it using various controls. With the early BlackBerries, it was the scroll-wheel on the side. With later devices, it was the “pearl” track-ball in the middle.
And - of course - there were power ups. Lasers, bombs, longer paddles, multi-ball were among the ones you wanted to catch. Reverse and Catch were perhaps ones you didn’t. You couldn’t really predict which bricks they were going to fall from, and you had no idea which was going to come until it was on its way down.
It was never a graphical masterpiece. It was pretty basic, but I loved it.
In fact, whenever I got a new BlackBerry I’d set it up with all my emails, contacts and calendar events, and then immediately fire up Brick Breaker and spend hours trying to get a high score. With every generation of new BlackBerry, the pattern remained. I loved it, and never, ever wanted it to change.
Then came the Q10 and Z10, with NO Brick Breaker. I mean, this was almost as bad as when the company launched the Playbook with NO email. I was sad. Until this year, when the company decided to revamp the game.
With the BlackBerry Classic, the manufacturer went back to a handset design that fans already loved. Customers who used the Bolds of yesteryear. And with it, a new Brick Breaker.
And apart from bouncing a ball around the screen, nothing is the same. And I’m not sure I like it.
First off, you have to download it from App World. It’s not preinstalled. And then when you start playing, you have to deal with some kind of odd-looking character running around at the bottom of your screen. No more space-age paddle. In its place: A man holding something on his head.
On the plus side, there are a lot of things going for the new Brick Breaker. You can control it three different ways: With the optical trackpad, the touch screen or using the accelerometer on the device. Some of the new power ups are awesome too. And - for the first time - you can have multiple power ups active at once. There’s a new UFO power up which gives you more bricks to try to destroy. What’s more, some levels have a switch-type brick which shows up some hidden bricks.
The bricks are now color-coded. White bricks are destroyed with one contact. Yellow requires two, blue: three, purple: four and so on. What’s more, you don’t have to guess where the power-ups are hiding anymore. They’re in the red bricks. The ball moves faster, the animation is obviously smoother and the power-ups fall quicker too. For a game that’s all about reflexes, those are important improvements. But I still don’t like them.
I think I’d rather BlackBerry had made a new version of the same game. Polished up some of the graphics and animations. Kept the same old power ups, bricks and paddle.
Sure, while I have the Classic, I’m going to be just as addicted as I was with the old game. But as much as the game is probably better in most ways, I’ll still miss the old one. “
You can download the new version of BrickBreaker from BlackBerry App World for free now.