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Blockbuster (pc game)
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  • Courtesy of My Abandonware.
  • Courtesy of My Abandonware.
  • Courtesy of My Abandonware.
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It's bats and balls!

Also going by the name of Impact, this is a fairly tasty but ever so slightly unspectacular addition to the ball and bat genre typified by classics like Breakout, Batty and of course Arkanoid (probably the finest title in this genre, alongside the sequel Arkanoid 2). Most of the game is pretty familiar stuff, but there's at least one mild twist to liven things up so if you are a fan of this kind of thing, and this one passed you by, it's certainly worth a look. As ever, the player takes control of a little bat and must knock a ball through a series of levels that are populated by dozens of bricks. Most of the bricks disappear when the ball hits, some requiring multiple hits, while others are indestructible and are simply annoying. Some of the blocks release powerups when destroyed and it's here that the game's main twist comes into play. Instead of conferring the powerup immediately, what happens here is that the player can choose to save any bonuses up and then release them when they are ready, in the hope of making it to the point where they get a better one. It's a classic risk versus reward system which actually works incredibly well and helps to make the game slightly more interesting than many others in this genre. The levels too are cleverly designed, with some nicely imaginative and challenging layouts that will keep even veterans on their toes. Visuals are pretty standard for this kind of thing, lacking Arkanoid's gloss and vibrancy, but they are perfectly serviceable nonetheless so all things considered, this is a fine addition to the club.

Bouncy bouncy

Another in the long line of Arkanoid-style bat-and-ball games, this is no better and no worse than many of its very similar relatives so if you are a fan of titles like Electranoid and Bananoid, this one might fill a little gap in your life. As ever, the player takes control of a paddle-like device and must manipulate it in order to destroy a series of blocks which fill each single-screen level. The stages start out pretty simple but soon become highly challenging, thanks to some complex and clever designs which require some pretty nifty bat skills. In a neat twist on the usual powerups and bonuses, Block Buster! occasionally releases bonus items which, if collected and kept, can eventually be released in order to give the player a powerup. It's up to you how long you keep collecting bonuses, but you have to consider the risk of missing the ball compared with the usefulness of the powerups. It's a nice little variation on a theme which brings a great sense of risk versus reward to proceedings. Apart from this though, it's pretty much business as usual in terms of gameplay. There are plenty of levels on offer here, enough to keep any hardened genre fan extremely happy and there is a well developed difficulty curve, so that by the time you've mastered the first few levels, you should have the skills and the patience to progress even further. Visually, this is run-of-the-mill stuff, with nice use of colours and suchlike but little else to mark it out from the myriad clones which litter the market. If you desperately need another bat-and-ball game in your life, then Block Buster! is as good a choice as any, but if you skip it, you're not missing much.
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