Break 'em All Review - Screenshot 1 of 3

If you've ever had an addiction for the game Breakout or Arkinoid, you may have interest in the DS game Break 'Em All, especially with the price tag of $19.99. There are 12 power ups you can gain, 50 pre-set levels to play, and a massive number of randomized levels. Unfortunately, this may not be the kind of updated formula you would want to play.

The object of the game is to use your paddle and ball to break every single bar on the top of the bottom screen. You can control your paddle using the touch screen or "L" and "R" buttons. The more your ball hits objects such as the paddle, the walls, or other bricks, the faster your ball will travel. The more points you earn, the more powerups you gain.

Powerups are chosen before starting each mode. These powerups can make your paddle bigger, allow your ball to travel slower or faster, make your ball travel through multiple bars, create a saftey barrier to prevent your ball from going off the screen, and create multiple balls. You have a selection of 12 powerups to choose from. You can only choose 6 of the 12 to play with.

To activate these powerups, you first need to gain a few points. After passing a certain number of points, you get your first powerup. If you choose not to use that powerup, you can increase your points even more to upgrade your last powerup. You can continue to upgrade your powerups until you get to the final upgrade, which can do massive damage on the above bars.

Break 'em All Review - Screenshot 2 of 3

Break 'Em All also features a few boss battles. These battles aren't that difficult. In fact, the only difficult part of these boss battles is aiming your ball in the boss's weak spot. This is hard to do sometimes since there are weak ball physics in the game.

This game introduces a new mode to the Breakout/Arkinoid clone scene, called Survival mode. Of course, when we think of Survival mode, we think of seeing how far a player could progress through a game without losing. The developers of the game, D3, have decided to change things up a bit. Instead of having you play for as long as you can, you must have war.

You start out in Survival mode by picking a specific paddle you'd like to play with. Each paddle has a weak spot and different defense. The object of this mode is to destroy all over paddles and become the last paddle standing. This isn't fun at all, thanks to certain flaws. You must control your paddle with the touch screen and move with the A, B, X, Y buttons. Moving the screen is very clunky and horrid, while controlling your paddle feels very slippery. In fact, everyone on the screen looks like they're having seizures on top of an ice floor. There isn't enough freedom at all for this mode to be good fun.

Break 'em All Review - Screenshot 3 of 3

Aside from Survival Mode being garbage, there are a few other issues with this game. For one, the presentation is terrible. The box art is horrible and screams out "budget title," while the actual gameplay is filled with plain backgrounds and bland objects. A little color would have been nice.

Another flaw is the replay factor. The weak graphics and boring colors helped contribute to the failure of the replay factor. This game doesn't quite freshen up an old series as Tetris DS did.


With that being said, I think that D3 did a decent attempt to update a classic game. I would only recommend this game to those who are considering renting a time wasting game, although, I must say that there are tons of Breakout/Arkinoid shockwave clones on the internet that may be a bit better than Break 'Em All.