Wednesday, September 7, 2011

ArkanoArena - 1.99 (Sketch Games)

ArkanoArena is a new brick-breaker game from Sketch Games. Early this year, iPhone users were given a taste of this steam punk styled brick breaker with a free demo version. It got a lot of great feedback, and produced a little following of excited gamers anticipating the release of the full version. Now it’s here. 50 levels of beautiful brick breaking action. The story adds to the atmosphere of the game as well, as you’re invited to take part in a competition put together by Mr. Arkano, held where “the land meets the sky and the laws of physics do not apply.”

The graphics in ArkanoArena are great. Various environments and, like I’ve said, steam punk style objects, which I’m just a sucker for, make this one of my favorite brick breakers available for the iOS. Animations are great, especially when your platform changes. The explosions are done extremely well, and there’s a lot of polish and professionalism shown with the look and feel of the game. The backgrounds look amazingly beautiful as well, which only helps add more style to this already stylish game. The addition of a store where you can buy weapons, ammo, extra life, and power-ups that you can use to take on the various enemies that can fire missiles at you even more interesting. The controls are like any other brick-breaker, hold under the platform, called the Stinger, here, and move left or right to bounce the ball off of it. To use your weapons, a shotgun, missiles, and a lightning strike, you tap on their icons on the right side of the screen. These icons might look like they’ll get in the way, but become transparent when you move or the ball goes to the right side of the screen. To launch your ball, you double tap in the direction you want to launch it.
There’s 2 different game modes, the Arcade Mode, which you can choose to play on normal or hardcore difficulties, and Survival Mode. In normal difficulty, you get as many retries as you’d like to get through all 50 of the levels, and in hardcore, you get your 3 lives, and when you loose them, it’s game over. In Survival Mode, you get one ball, but all of your weapons are unlocked at the beginning of the game. When you loose your ball, game over. The store is accessible in Arcade Mode, between each level, but not given to you in Survival Mode.
The scoring system is pretty nice, giving you different scores for each of the different blocks, and a time bonus at the end. The block mechanics are pretty interesting, as there’s regular blocks that take one hit to destroy, other blocks with numbers on them that take that amount of hits to destroy, blocks with timers that start when you hit them, and reset the block if you don’t hit it again before the timer gets around the circle in the block, bomb blocks that blow up blocks around them when hit, skull blocks and gold blocks.
The enemies in ArkanoArena are one of the best things about the game. Having them shoot missiles at you really helps bump the challenge up a bit. I would love to see more types of enemies added in the future though, as I think the developers could really do a lot with different enemies, attacks, and attack mechanics. For instance, seeing an enemy that shoots some goo at the Stinger, causing it to slow down for a second or two, or kamikaze enemies that come barreling at you, knocking you half way across the screen on impact would be awesome.
ArkanoArena is one of the best looking brick-breakers in the AppStore, and it’s looking like it’s going to quickly knock Anodia out of the #1 spot on my device. $1.99 for this game is a great price, as it delivers tons of replay, loads of levels, GameCenter leader boards for both difficulties of Arcade Mode, and Survival Mode, and 50 achievements. Aside from more enemies, there’s nothing I can think of that I would like to see changed or added. Sketch Games has done an amazing job with ArkanoArena, and it’s recommended to anyone who’s into the genre, or just loves great looking arcade games.

ArkanoArena is getting a score of 9.5 out of 10


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