(DSiWare)

AlphaBounce (DSiWare)

Game Review

AlphaBounce Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Quite possibly the best Arkanoid clone ever

AlphaBounce started out life as a free to play online game. Borrowing heavily from Arkanoid and other "move the paddle to bounce the ball and break the blocks" games, it added a few rather unique twists, rather than being almost a direct copy like most of them are.

The game focuses on one of three prisoners, each one representing a different difficulty level, although the hardest will have to be unlocked. They've been sent to a mining colony in space for crimes they committed, and their punishment is to go around searching for minerals around the galaxy by controlling "envelopes," which are identical to the paddles in other similar games. These envelopes, of course, launch out balls, which are used to break blocks and collect minerals.

There's hundreds, if not thousands of levels (The developers actually even claim there's millions!). They're all displayed on an absolutely gigantic map screen that's divided up into squares, each square representing one level. You can't play them all instantly, however; you're smack dab in the center of the map, and the only way to reach other levels is by clearing those in your way. For every level you clear, the adjacent levels open up for play as well.

A number of levels will reward you with special items once cleared, as indicated on the map. These items can be almost anything — you might simply widen the area you can explore, but you can also find new envelopes, balls and other equipment to alter the way your ball behaves, potentially making any future levels easier.

Although most games like this only have a handful of different bricks for you to destroy and a very limited amount of powerups, AlphaBounce goes absolutely crazy with both of them. There's over 40 different brick types, each of which acts different, and there's no less than 26 items you can find in them, which range from the usual multi-ball and magnetic paddle powerups, to ones that cause the entire stage to split apart, two or more columns of blocks disappearing off the side of the screen and thus automatically being cleared.

Of course, there's bad powerups as well, so you'll have to keep a close eye on what items are dropping down — you don't want the balls becoming "drunk" and going in all sorts of crazy curvy directions. This can be hard at times, though; some levels barely have any powerups, but others are absolutely littered with them. It's not a rare sight to see 20+ powerups raining down on you at the same time.

The game's ultimate goal is to escape imprisonment and make it back to Earth, but achieving this can take quite a while. There will no doubt be perfectionists who will attempt to clear every single stage on offer, and if you're one of them, this game could easily last you weeks, if not months. If you haven't had enough, you can go through it all again on Hard.

Of note is that the game does feature a few small changes from the flash version. Originally (and, in fact, still) a free online game, there was actually a limit on how much you could play it: each day would give three additional plays, allowing you to explore three more sectors. Imagine how long that would take to clear! The flash game also actually gave you the minerals you found in every stage as currency to buy items with, but as these have been turned into level rewards for the DSiWare release, there was really no point in keeping the collectable minerals around either.

Although the general look of the game isn't really that impressive, the music is actually quite good; it gives off a Commodore 64 vibe, which, in our book, is excellent. After selecting a level and waiting for it to load (which, thankfully, doesn't take that long), you'll also be able to read detailed information on planets and other things in the game's universe. There's an absolute ton of different info, which definitely shows dedication from the developer.

Conclusion

On the surface, AlphaBounce appears to be the umpteenth generic Arkanoid clone, but looks can deceive! It offers far more content than any other iteration of the game, and will keep you entertained far longer, especially with the customizable envelopes and balls. We're quite confident in saying that this is perhaps the best Arkanoid-esque game ever made — and for its meager 500 DSi Points asking price, it should be an absolute no-brainer.

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User Comments (64)

SMEXIZELDAMAN

#3

SMEXIZELDAMAN said:

OMG this looks amazing. I love those games where you hit teh balls off paddles to break bricks. I will get this as soon as I get some points :)

cheapogamer4life

#5

cheapogamer4life said:

Good Review!
Kinda makes me wanna go straight to the shop and DL this Title Asap :P
Some....how....gotta...save...points......for....Donkey kong Jr. :(

Wolfcoyote

#6

Wolfcoyote said:

Darn. I'll need to wait until payday but I'm definitely getting this. Hopefully this will make up for SE's Arkanoid DS and the 2006 Break 'Em All releases. They're only asking for $5.00...

ueI

#7

ueI said:

I still don't understand why this is worth paying for if it's free.

vampirelich

#10

vampirelich said:

Oh awesome, I think I still have 800 dsi points left, and an unused points card laying around... will totally dl this tonight.

ErrorSupply

#11

ErrorSupply said:

Great game. Traveling the map, and seeing the strange item icons in the distance I'm often like "Oooh! What's that?!". Then, when I reach it and earn whatever it turns out to be, it often expands/changes how the game is played, adding to the fun of exploring the galaxy.

Odnetnin

#12

Odnetnin said:

Thanks for the amazing review, now I have something to look forward to tomorrow.

sykotek

#14

sykotek said:

Argh, darn you Marcel Van Duyn! I was all set to not buy anything this week, but you just had to go and write such a great detailed review for the game. I'm downloading it now, in case it truly is awesome, you'll probably not hear from me for awhile, so thanks in advance.

Bloodysaber

#16

Bloodysaber said:

This review sold it for me.

Good game, will be my replacement for Tetris in the bathroom or sitting in a waiting room. :P

crafting4you

#20

crafting4you said:

I bought this game over the week end. I just couldn't wait for the review. I love the games, I just keep on wanting to play it more. Well worth getting.

IanUniacke

#21

IanUniacke said:

Glad to see others agree with me. :) This is easily the best game on dsiware imho. I was even looking at a little scrunched up foil from an easter egg and thinking it was an ice ball and I would have to travel over and pick it up. Maybe I've been playing too much. ;)

piguy101

#26

piguy101 said:

Is it just me or do the first few paragraphs sound biased? Is there anything in this game that would be hard for lefties like me? Or is there an option to change the game for lefties?

ErrorSupply

#28

ErrorSupply said:

@ piguy101

Lefties have the option of using the face buttons for actions assigned to the dpad, so no problem there.

Slapshot

#30

Slapshot said:

I just got Magic Orbz on the PS3 so Im already currently playing a Arkanoid clone. Its still great to see another high rated game to hit DSiWare. I will grab this at some point.

gnooly

#33

gnooly said:

Maybe I missed it, but is the paddle controlled with the d-pad or stylus?

6ch6ris6

#34

6ch6ris6 said:

review is okay but nothing mentioned about the controls.
i will only buy it if it has d-pad controls avaible.

ErrorSupply

#35

ErrorSupply said:

@ gnooly and 6ch6ris6

You can only maneuver the paddle with the touch screen. An option to use the dpad for movement would have just put you at a disadvantage, with no way to instantly zip to where you need to be.

6ch6ris6

#36

6ch6ris6 said:

okay i really need some answers...
1. can i skip lvl i already beated? because i think in the flash version you cant do that.
2. can you tell me the exact controlls? for example i dont wanna do touchscreen AND push the shooulder buttons. think it is hard to ho9ld the ds like that. dunno.
3. how deep are the rpg elements.
4. can you suggest me a 500points game with no touchscreen controlls that i can play very often. i always play ds in the bathroom xD (already have dr.mario and puzzle league, so no puzzler pls.)

pink_dsi_26

#37

pink_dsi_26 said:

Good game, even on easy im finding it a challenge...but its definately worth 500 point if you like this sort of thing.

DrakeStaff

#38

Drake said:

@6ch6ris6: 1. Yes, you can go anywhere you've already been without having to replay stages.
2. As others have said, during gameplay, controlling your envelope uses the touch screen only.
3. The RPG elements really just come down to the customization of your envelope and ball, nothing more.
4. No clue, to be honest, almost every single DSiWare game uses the touch screen!

Writersareliars

#39

Writersareliars said:

@6ch6ris6:
2. You do have to use the Dpad if you want to fire lasers or missiles.
4. Chronos Twins is good, but HARD, old-school platformer with a dual-screen/reality twist.

joebish

#40

joebish said:

The craziness of powerups kinda ruined it for me, but it's still the best Arkanoid clone out there, and certainly the best for $5.

Slapshot

#42

Slapshot said:

After watching the video of this, Im going to have to invest in this one. Its kinda reminds me of what Puzzlequest did for the "match 3 genre", though Shatter added a great wind element to the Arkanoid genre, this looks to be just a great of an addition.

HvE

#43

HvE said:

Bought it. Just gotta say: Mass Cannon + Chaos Field = Overpowered!

motang

#45

motang said:

This totally went under my radar, but not any more, I shall buy it soon.

Boman

#46

Boman said:

First game I had I was disappointed.
I thought it was Slow and Boring.
then when I progressed to the following levels and got grasp of the menu
navigation system,understood the various bonus items,I got totally addicted!

28greg

#48

28greg said:

i think this is great and i love the rpg elements but the visuals and sound effects during play are poo and most people don't care but i really can't play this for more than 10 min. without getting sick of it if there was just some level variety and quality sounds and the items on the map were closer together it would be amazing.

Kyloctopus

#50

Kyloctopus said:

You really got to think of this game, yes it's got a cool storyline and items. But after level 347 won't it get boring. Plus the graffix look boring as heck. I think this should get an 8/10

winter123

#51

winter123 said:

For those wondering... 1) it's not the exact same game, the levels are larger judging by the screenshots. 2) The "free" online game is not really free. After about 20 levels you run out of fuel and can't play anymore unless you wait for 3 more levels worth of fuel every night at midnight, or pay 7 dollars to get 100 more levels worth of fuel. So to play wherever you want, whenever you want, for I'm assuming every level from the online game (which is a lot) is the reason to get the dsiware game. I might. BIG might. Or I just may play a couple levels online per day as a diversion while I listen to music.

winter123

#52

winter123 said:

supercommando440 - I hope you're joking. If you bought both DSi And DSi XL you're [I'd be breaking the "be nice to one another" rule if i typed it]

BlueKirby

#53

BlueKirby said:

I really liked this game. When you get the scout ball and powerups are raining down, it is really fun. However, there are a few flaws. There are ridiculous loading times for each level, and the text that shows during the loading time has many typos. I give it an 8.5/10.

paperskyx

#56

paperskyx said:

This game is AWESOME! I agree with what some others are saying - it starts off a bit slow but once you get to your fifth or sixth level, you're addicted. Oh, and the loading time is NOT as bad as people are making it seem.

XCWarrior

#60

XCWarrior said:

Just heard about this on the Nintendo World Report podcast. Might have to check it out, especially for $5

winter123

#61

winter123 said:

Finally buying this game. For 3DS. I've been suffering a lack of games that make me want to take my 3DS along with me at all times. Things that I can just play for a few minutes then put back in my pocket. It was between this and Alleyway for Gameboy... Sorry but a lot of game boy, even game boy color games just feel too outdated for me.

Yomerodes

#63

Yomerodes said:

Got this twice...once on DSi (stolen) and again on 3DS. IMO the best game on DSiware, totally worth it.

MC808

#64

MC808 said:

Dangitt! I'm $0.03 away from being able to buy it. Now I have to add $10 just to get it.
:-(
Nintendo, give people some more control of the increments of adding funds!

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