I am so glad I didn’t have to try and figure out how to do those weird blocked letters in the title…
Anyways BREAKER! As noted elsewhere I’ve been doing my personal deep dive on that massive racial justice bundle from last year, and in the course of doing so I have stumbled upon a few high score focused games that made me go “dang, I wish I had someone to play these games against”. Now there is this ongoing contest which gives me just that chance so I picked my favorite one of these type of games I’ve come across in it so far.
But what is BREAKER anyways?
The game page describes it as “a blend of BREAKOUT, SPACE INVADERS and IKARUGA” and that is pretty close, although I’d say it is less like Space Invaders and more like Gyruss due to the fact that all the enemies are in the center of the screen and you rotate around them. You play as a paddle who can’t directly attack the enemies it circles but instead deflects their bullets back at them. The question then is how can the enemies hurt you if you can just bounce their attacks back at them and that us where the Ikaruga bit comes into play: you can only reflect bullets the same color as you back, different color bullets harm you.
What makes it sing though is how the game handles changing the paddle’s color. Simply put with the default color scheme you switch to red when circling clockwise and blue when circling counter-clockwise (if you stay still you keep the color you had prior). This not only simplifies the control scheme down to two buttons but does an interesting job mixing attacking and defending together. If you see a red bullet coming nearby and you are red you’ll instinctively want to go bat it back, but you best be careful that in moving over a bit to hit it you don’t move counter-clockwise and change colors to do so or else you’ll just lose a life and curse yourself. It is initially confounding but after a few games you start to get into a good flow with it.
You can’t get into too easy of a flow though as roughly every minute or so a boss enemy appears in the center of the screen that sends more bullets your way, eventually in patterns that aren’t quite bullet hell curtains (I mean maybe later on it does, one of us has to get that far first) but are a step up from what the normal enemies were tossing your way. They also take a good number of hits, but when they are destroyed you get a nice bunch of points plus one or two lives back. It continues in cycles like this, as you get through more of them the regular enemies start tossing more bullets your way, eventually you die, enter your initials and try again.
I will note that I think there is a degree of randomness in terms of which bosses appear when which might make chasing a high score slightly luck-based, but oh well the game is neat go give it a shot I think it is swell! I won’t count any of the high scores I got when I first played the game, so here’s the respectable score I got when taking screenshots for this
Your current score is in the top left corner, the next high score on the table you are chasing is listed in the top right.
Also FYI I believe to switch palettes you have to hit escape to bring up a menu that let’s you do so.
EDIT: FWIW at least for a while it isn’t super hard like some shooter-esque games get. Once you internalize the controls it starts fairly easy and ends up being what I’d call moderately challenging with boss fights being the trickier bits. I recall it eventually getting a bit hard but that’s generally when you are near or past the top default high score. That said there was one boss I came across a few times that felt legit tricky so if that one pops up on your run don’t lose hope.