Genre: Breakout 
Year: 2009
Developed by: Sidhe Interactive
Published by: Sidhe Interactive
Platforms: PC, PS Network, Mac
Feeling Like: Establishment

Not every post is personal. Not every game has a backstory that explains my emotional connection to it. Sometimes I’ll impulse purchase, enjoy it and move on.

What I liked the most about Shatter is the familiarity of the gameplay. Everybody knows how to play this. You shatter bricks. Don’t let the ball get past your paddle. Those who haven’t picked up a controller in 40 years would understand. Since that’s about all the mental capacity I have these days, this is a perfect time sink.

You know you hit pay dirt when an entire genre is named after you. It’s not a massive force in the video game industry, sure, but when you say it’s a Breakout-type or Breakout-clone, there’s built in recognition. Gamers will know what you mean, or be familiar with the style. The original Breakout had the advantage of being in an age where anything seemed to be “first” at something, but there’s also something to be admired when a style of gameplay is still enjoyed by millions forty four years later.

Forty. Four.

It’s apt that I’m posting this on May 13. On this very day in 1976, Breakout was released in arcades by the legendary Steve Wozniak. On the other hand, maybe it’s not so surprising the design is still endearing nearly five decades later.

Blocks go boom. Easy.

How fundamentally sound are your mechanics if they’re still enjoyable today? Shatter is more than a fresh coat of paint, but it still relies heavily on the core concepts of Breakout. Your goal is to shatter (!) bricks laid out in front, or to the side of you. It may require you to balance more than one ball, it will require you to pay attention to the environmental hazards, and you will be nodding your head to the incredible soundtrack.

As is often the case, this placement on the 500 is due to the stellar selection of music. Shatter‘s songs are so catchy and creative, so soothing and maniacal that it completely works in tandem with you moving your platform, angling your shots and watching the destruction ahead.

Kinetic Harvest is a lovely introduction.

Now that you’ve settled in, let Aurora mystify you.

When things start to pick up, you’ll no doubt feel more robotic thanks to Argon Refinery.

My favorite track, the Amethyst Caverns.

The soundtrack is both the sizzle and the steak in Shatter.

Not much else to tell, really. The additions to the gameplay are numerous, and the levels never overstay their welcome. I’m dismayed to not hear anybody else talk about it, because at a bare minimum, the soundtrack by Module is one of the all-time greats. It’s on Spotify so hopefully some newcomers will be entranced and encouraged to take the plunge.

If it ‘aint broke…

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