Giant Bomb Review

17 Comments

Shatter Review

4
  • PS3N

Shatter's a solid download that offers a terrific sense of style while also bringing you a really good update of the old Breakout/Arkanoid formula.


This snakey thing is the boss of the first world. 
To oversimplify things a bit, Shatter does for the Arkanoid school of power-up-filled block breaking what Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved did for the dual-joystick shooter. It doesn't totally revolutionize a long-standing genre, but it makes interesting changes to the well-worn formulas of its forefathers while sucking you in with its stylish look and kick-ass soundtrack. The only real drawback is that the game contains about an afternoon's worth of content and isn't especially difficult, which doesn't lead to a very replayable game unless you're the type of player who values your place on an online leaderboard. 

While most post-Arkanoid block breaking games have followed very closely in Taito's footsteps, Shatter only has a few actual collectable bonuses. Instead, most of your time spent with Shatter involves manipulating your paddle's innate power to suck and blow. Sucking in lets you collect particles that fill up a power meter that powers both a shield and a super attack that lets you shoot at blocks for a short period of time. But it also affects the trajectory of the ball. Blowing, as you might have guessed, is the opposite of sucking, and it'll repel your ball, as well as any loose blocks that might drift in your direction. So in addition to simply hitting the ball to keep it in play, the core skill of Shatter lies in using the suck and blow functions to manipulate the ball and aim it at the blocks you're trying to break. Since there are different types of blocks--some of which put their own spin on the ball as it draws near--there's a certain level of strategy involved in attempting to hit certain blocks first. This is the key to the entire experience and it's what makes Shatter much more than yet another Arkanoid clone.

The levels in Shatter also come at you from a few different angles. The game starts out horizontally, with your paddle on the left side of the screen. But eventually you'll encounter vertical stages, and finally stages that take place in a circle, with your paddle able to cover a chunk of territory near the bottom of the circle. It would have been nice to see more angles and more variety in level design, as you see a little too much of each perspective as you work your way through the game's ten worlds. Each world, however, ends in a unique boss fight. You'll fight large creatures, like techno-snakes and cyber-squids, as well as a larger, meaner version of your paddle. The boss fights are pretty cool, and beating the game leads to a boss rush mode where you'll attempt to beat all of the bosses in the shortest time possible. There's a trophy in it for you if you can beat all ten in less than ten minutes... that's not an easy feat.

The later levels in Shatter can get pretty frantic. 
Shatter plays really well and keeps you engaged from start to finish by giving you such direct control over the ball and changing things up just enough from level to level. But you'd probably get pretty tired of it very quickly if it wasn't for the game's killer presentation. Shatter looks great, with different color schemes and backgrounds for each world. It also sounds great. The Shatter soundtrack is a terrific collection of melodic electronic music that really stands out as the best thing about the entire game. It's available for purchase separately for a price that's actually higher than the game itself, but I found that purchase to also be totally worth it.

There isn't any direct multiplayer in Shatter, leaving you to compete against an online leaderboard. But the game integrates these scores very well into the game by showing you the next score to beat from anyone on your friends list. This gives you a set of achievable targets as you work your way through the game. It's a great implementation that personalizes the chase for higher scores.

So with that in mind, Shatter is best-suited to people who have a friends list full of scoreboard fiends. That's what'll bring replay value to a game that's only going to take you a couple of hours to see in its entirety. But even if you're not that type of player, Shatter still has enough style and action in it to be worth checking out. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
17 Comments
Posted by PrawnToast

Seen a lot of positive comments on this one, might have to pick it up.

Posted by NickM

I might have to pass it for now, but will definitely buy it in the future. Man, too much stuff is coming out! First Microsoft with its SoA and a bunch of other stuff like Monkey Island and All Fronts, and now Sony with its PSN craziness. I kinda feel sorry for my debit card.

Posted by Jacob816

Agh, I HATE those circular levels. If it wasn't for those, I'd like this game way more.

Posted by JJOR64

Wow, maybe I'll start playing my PS3 again.  :P

Posted by WinterSnowblind

Every single time I see this, I think it says Shatner.
I'm guessing he's not in it though :(

Posted by artofwar420

The price is right with this one!

Posted by Kornicos

great game over way too quick. maybe without the credits it would have felt like more of a challenge.

Edited by TopCat

great psn game and great review i got the game over the weekend and tried to beat jeff high score but it is really dificult to hit the 2 million score awesome game!!

Posted by MrMiyagi

Just downloaded this one. Price is definitely right and the game is incredibly fun.

Edited by SJSchmidt93

Looks like a purchase to me. Just wish there was a demo.


"most of your time spent with Shatter involves manipulating your paddle's innate power to suck and blow"

lolwut?
Posted by get2sammyb

Yeah it's well worth it. Even if you only get like 3 hours play out of it, the game's under a Fiver so, y'know.

Posted by OmegaPirate

Good review, this is definately one of the better arkanoid clones out there, alongside magic ball 


Although i do prefer shatter XD
Posted by onlineatron

Great review!
Bought the game last week and agree 100% with everything you said (for once..).

Bought the game with 'Splosion Man so I can alternate between the two and make Shatter last me a bit longer...but for £4.79 it's completely worth it.

Shatter is also the type of game that lends it's self to dlc very well, so *fingers crossed* sidhe get right on that... and creating new fantastic music!

Posted by Media_Master

sounds neat

Posted by RHCPfan24

I have not heard much about this one but I will probably look into it later.

Posted by DavidSnakes

Eh, I feel like the soundtrack is better than the actual game

Posted by MarkWahlberg

Got the soundtrack a while back and immediately fell in love with it. I don't think I'll ever get tired of listening to some of these songs.