Arkanoid Plus! (WiiWare)

Game Review

Arkanoid Plus! Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Another breakthrough for Taito?

Taito's doing a fine job reviving its classic franchise on WiiWare - Space Invaders was revived with a completely different, fun gameplay style, while three games from the Bubble Bobble series all got decent to great remakes. This one's more like the Bubble Bobble games, in that it's a straight-up remake of the original arcade game, Arkanoid.

Like the previous remake, Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move Plus!, Arkanoid doesn't really differ much from the original game. You still play as a simplistic horizontal paddle, and your objective is still to bounce a ball around and break all the blocks above. Certain blocks you destroy will cause items to appear, and picking these up with your paddle will cause a variety of effects, such as allowing the paddle to shoot lasers or allowing the ball to go straight through blocks instead of bouncing off each one.

The game features three different modes to try your hand at. There's the standard Arcade Mode, which sees you going through 31 stages. There's actually 61 different stages, but after each stage you clear, two portals will appear to the left and right of the playing field; depending on which one you go through, you'll play one of two different stages. In the 31st and final stage you'll face a boss, and yes, he'll be different depending on what portal you picked in the previous level!

The addition of DLC in their previous WiiWare games worked very well for Taito, so it's no surprise that it's back here, although in a slightly more limited quantity. There is a single DLC pack available for 200 Wii Points, which adds "Zone 2" to the Arcade Mode selection screen. It basically just has 61 different stages, so if you enjoy the previous 61, these are a good investment. Of course, there's a totally new boss at the end as well.

Arcade Mode has a whole bunch of different settings you can adjust before you start. The most significant is whether you want there to be enemies or not - if you turn them on, enemies will gradually appear in the playing field and then come towards your paddle. They actually don't hurt you or anything like that, they just cause your ball to bounce off if it hits them. If they touch the paddle they'll actually die! For the most part they're just an annoyance, so it might be smart to turn them off.

Aside from enemies, you can also select if you want to use lives or a barrier; if you choose lives, you lose one every time the ball flies off the screen. If you choose barrier mode a barrier will appear at the bottom of each round, and if the ball bounces off it three times it disappears, although it can be repaired with certain item pickups. If the ball then flies off the screen, it's an instant Game Over!

Aside from the Arcade Mode, there's also a Time Mode. In this you simply play a certain amount of levels which you have to beat in a certain amount of time, and isn't anything special. Naturally, the final mode is a two-player one, wherein both players get their own field and either have to destroy all blocks or all blocks of one certain colour before the other player does. There's also a few special items that only appear this mode; picking them up hinders your opponent by making his paddle smaller or by adding extra blocks to destroy.

Taito hasn't really tried to do anything special with the graphics and music. The graphics are incredibly simple, and the music is basically just a bunch of simple remixes of the original arcade game's tunes.


Arkanoid Plus! is another fine addition to Taito's series of classic franchise remakes. It doesn't really do anything special or new, but it doesn't have to: the core game is just as addictive as it's always been. Sure, the only thing you can really do is go for high scores or play against a friend, but if you're having fun while doing so, who cares?

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User Comments (45)



Philip_J_Reed said:

Arkanoid. One of those rare games that I'm really, really bad at, but always enjoy anyway. Can't wait for this!



KnucklesSonic8 said:

I appreciated the review as a whole and I'm rather surprised there were no comparisons to Block Breaker DX - not necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.



Drake said:

Block Breaker Deluxe has a lot of new features and such, while this is still as simple as it's always been. The gameplay is similar, but they can't really be compared, IMO.



blackknight77 said:

I always enjoyed Arkanoid and if I had to choose a block breaking game I would go with the Arkanoid just because I know the series.



Machu said:

Soz for askin' but controls.... D-pad only or can there be twisting (which i was hoping for)?

Arkanoid rocks, bored of the one on my phone so will get this, bit pricey mind.



SwerdMurd said:

I got Block Breaker Deluxe for a dollar for iPhone. It's a phenomenal game, although I completely understand what Taito was going for with this game and appreciate it thusly.

Still, BBD is the BBD. God bless random Richard Jeni quotes from The Mask.



Machu said:

Dang, nevermind. Thought they'd have at least given the option, but d-pad'll do just fine. TY.




I'd personally give this game an 8...good presentation and gameplay. Blockbreaker Deluxe was very good too.



Omega said:

I remember playing Arkanoid on the C64. The game is fun to pick up every once in a while, but other than that there isn't much to it. I would've liked some new ideas, not just the same old game. I think it's still worth playing when you never tried Breakout before, but if you have it's probably not worth 800 Points.



Sean_Aaron said:

The game is well-calibrated for D-pad use, but really some kind of analogue input via pointer or twist would have been a nice option.

I think Arkanoid blows Block Breaker Deluxe right out of the water though: it's more challenging and has a more appealing look to it, though I did like the fact that BBD used analogue input via the pointer which was a good demonstration of that technology I hope other classic arcade games adopt (thinking Tempest here).

Nice review Marcel!



irken004 said:

I'd love to get this (when it comes out in America) but I need to save my points for Cave Story.



BulbasaurusRex said:

Are GameCube Controllers supported? I know I wouldn't have to ask if it were a VC game, but ever since I discovered that Eduardo the Samurai Toasters accepts Classic Controllers but not GameCube Controllers, I can no longer assume that Classic Controller support also means GameCube Controller support in WiiWare games.



Ren said:

BBD was really cheesy and basically a cheap cash-in on an easy concept. Sure it doesn't take much to make a block breaking game entertaining but it does take a cheesy, tool to strip it of a tasteful interface which Gameloft is king at doing. I'll go with Arkanoid anyday



Haze4peace said:

Ren is right BBD was really cheesy, played it for about 5 mins and promptly deleted it. I've played the Japanese Arkanoid Plus! version for many hours and I love it.



Valoisian said:

Any chance that we'll get a Taito revisioning of Mr. Do! It's my favorite arcade game from that era.



Sean_Aaron said:

Does Taito own Universal's IP? I'd love to see that and Ladybug too!

@Bulbasaurus: I'm pretty sure it's Remote only -- why would you want to use a Gamecube controller?



valleyoftheunos said:

800 points for Arkanoid!!! thats insane, seriously its the oldest game on the planet and it looks terrible. way way way over priced.



Lady_Gryphon said:

Hmmmm. I don't know if I'll get this or not. I got Block Breaker Deluxe, but barely play it so I'm not sure I should get another block breaking game. The cheesiness didn't bother me too bad, but I still might be more interested in the original. I'll have to think about it.




I agree with Sean, I'd've liked to have seen the BBD control method used for Arkanoid Plus but I'm more than happy with the d-pad usage. The twist report option is an interesting use of the wii remote but I didn't like it in Bit Trip so I'm not bothered having that as an option for this game tbh. Still to have that and the bbd movemnet option as actual alternative control methods in the game would've been a major plus point for the general gaming public. I don't know if that would've caused the software calibration difficulties for the respective control schemes however.



opeter said:

My only problem is the D-pad control. I would like to use the Wiimote with pointing on the screen (like in the Gamelofts Breakout game).



Sean_Aaron said:

I suspect the omission of pointer use is more to do with the ease of developing this for cross-platform release than anything else. Using the d-pad in all platforms means less dev time for a special control interface.

The D-pad is well-calibrated with adjustments possible by the user though I found the default settings were quite sufficient.



opeter said:

Sean you're right, but it would be nice, to have that option somewhere...



ejamer said:

Shame about the control scheme - it would be a definite buy for me, but ONLY if a twist-to-move control scheme was available similar to what we've seen in Bit.Trip Beat. Using the control pad to move your panel simply doesn't interest me for this type of gameplay... Almost like how playing Arkanoid or Space Invaders Extreme on the DS is disappointing without the paddle controller, but worse because there is no need for a separate accessory to make this work.



Philip_J_Reed said:

I had an Arkanoid for the NES, can't recall if it was Arkanoid II or not...it might have been.

It was insanely difficult. And yet, for whatever reason, I played the heck out of it, never making it more than a few stages in.

I'm tempted to pick up this WiiWare version, but I'm having a hard enough time making it through Puzzle Bobble.



Ren said:

This is such a classic that it deserves the tasteful "classic" treatment that it gets here so with the older die-hards like some of us theres no question of this over BBD. but then it is still simple enough that it'd probably have been a better sell at 500-600 points; instant buy then.
Be cool if there was a paddle attachment for the nunchuck port, it could even be useful for lots of other things. I think there was a paddle controller packed with the NES version back in the day. I think the pointer simulates that loose movement a little better than a D-pad, too, but nothing beats an actual paddle (besides what would be cooler than the option to control some racing games with a left hand paddle, too?)



maka said:

A shame about the control system... I'm not interested if it's got no analog controls...



chrisy said:

Hopefully they'll do Arkanoid 2 next

Anyway, what happened to Parasol Stars? They missed that out of the Bubble Bobble series.



ICEknight said:

The controls in Block Breaker Deluxe were perfect for this kind of game... It's quite lame to only have D-pad support for this. Maybe next time.




I think people are being to over-strict on the fact its only got d-pad support. Its still a banging download. Download it even if you have a passing interest in the game, no matter your contol method preference



Sean_Aaron said:

Agreed. Analogue is nice, but really not essential; I find the d-pad provides tighter control than the arcade spinner and my game is a lot better as a result.

If you've played Super Breakout in the Atari Anniversary Advance collection that also uses a d-pad, the Arkanoid Plus! control blows it out of the water. Taito did a really good job of adapting the d-pad; it never feels like compromising.



ICEknight said:

"I think people are being to over-strict on the fact its only got d-pad support. Its still a banging download. Download it even if you have a passing interest in the game, no matter your contol method preference"
So you're basically telling us: Just quit complaining and spend your money on this game, even if there's other similar alternatives with better controls.

@39. Sean Aaron
"Taito did a really good job of adapting the d-pad; it never feels like compromising."
Adjusting left/right movement to a D-pad doesn't exactly require rocket science. It's precisely the easiest way to do it.



Sean_Aaron said:

@ICEknight: maybe so, but no ball/paddle game I ever played in the arcade used a joystick and I'm pretty concerned about how arcade games play using joypads when adapted to consoles.

All due respect to Gameloft for bringing the first brick-breaking game to WiiWare, but it's inferior to Arkanoid Plus! in almost every way: Arkanoid is more challenging, has more levels and better play modes. Having analogue input just doesn't compensate.



Wolfcoyote said:

I wanted to argue for analogue/Wii Remote-style controls in this game (especially after Bit.Trip: Beat), but if Arkanoid Plus is d-pad only, then it's d-pad only. I care too much about the Arkanoid series (except for the inferior DS version released last year, though I don't want to trade it in) to miss the chance to download it and be able to relive my Super Nintendo memories after a hard day at work and a two-hour commute.

Can't we just agree that while Arkanoid Plus exceeds the visual and satisfaction level of Gameloft's Block Breaker Deluxe, Gameloft's inclusion of a Wii Remote-based control scheme should have been an option - and then just leave it alone?

Realize that if it was up to Square, perhaps NA gamers wouldn't even have access to the game. Plus, it's (allegedly) only 600 Points. If we as gamers are going to bellyache over a $6.00 USD title then we're not in a recession; we're in a Depression.



wiiwareaddict said:

Great Game! Just downloaded it and have been playing it with my 8 year old. 7/10

Only complaint so far is that it does not seem to be working when it comes to saving high scores??? Maybe I haven't gotten high enough to save oh well I'll keep trying.



evilralfwiggum said:

IF you could use gamecube controller. THEN it would mean I could plug in the NES controller adapter then use the NES arkanoid controller to play. Shame you can't use gamecube controller.. if that is how it is. :/



Caster8 said:

I got Arkanoid for the 360 and i didnt think id say this , but this is actually a very good game i might download the wii-ware one as well as its a bit more updated

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