LifeisXbox’s Arkanoid Eternal Battle Review | Brought to you by developer Pasta Games and publisher Microids is Arkanoid Eternal Battle – the modern adaptation of the 1986 classic Arkanoid game on the ZX Spectrum and the Amiga, with 4 modes, Eternal Battle mode (a battle royale mode), Versus (which is local multiplayer), NEO (story mode) and Retro (the original game). If you are unaware of the original Arkanoid game it is a block-breaker game or some people coin it as a Break-Out game after the Atari game which essentially was the pioneer of the genre. The object of these games is to clear rows or patterns of blocks by hitting them, clearing all the blocks and advancing to the next level. Enough of the game’s history lesson. Does Arkanoid Eternal Battle become a blockingly good time?
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox One | Review code provided by PR/publisher. This review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Eternal Battle Mode | It’s clear that the main part of the game is the Battle Royale mode known as Eternal Battle as in the game title Arkanoid Eternal Battle. It has been well designed so basically people are knocked out in an eliminator-style fashion whereby the lowest score after a set period is eliminated. Gaining points for taking out blocks and clearing a board, losing points for ‘dying’ (you have infinite lives but lose points and time), and after a certain period on a set board if you do not take out all the blocks, any remaining will be taken off your score until a final 4 gets to take on the main baddie – the ‘DOH’ – where you gain points for hitting the DOH or his weapon balls. The new section follows the same elimination pattern until there’s one left standing whom has to defeat the DOH in order to win (I never succeeded in winning). This mode retained my attention more than anything else due to its competitive style and the tenseness of being close to elimination and the feeling of moving back up the leaderboard as the game moves quite quickly. One minute you are in 10th place then suddenly you could be leading.
- Nostalgia | I am a big fan of ‘block breaker/breakout games such as this. It brings me back to my early childhood when I remember playing these types of games when I was 8/9 years old. The addition of a retro mode which essentially is the old Arkanoid arcade game, complete with arcade game cabinet surround, very much excited me as it plays like the old game as well. Arkanoid Eternal Battle is very true to the original and it’s clear that the developers wanted to pay homage to the original and do it justice.
- Visuals | There are some good futuristic-style visuals in the main part of Arkanoid Eternal Battle akin to space exploration which I believe was the goal of the developers with this being set in space. The visuals in the Retro mode are also well executed. The visuals are let down however by the way it informs you of your position in Eternal Battle Mode which opposing players’ boards are flashed past your screen at regular intervals and this was very distracting to me, especially problematic when the ball is fizzing around very quickly and it requires a high degree of concentration in order to be successful. A quick fix to this would have been to have a leaderboard bar at the side of the screen, it will not then be so distracting to the player and it will still inform you of the current scores and leaderboard positions.
- Soundtrack | Other than the usual bleeps and bloops, the tunes sound rather decent with a synth 80s style. The music is very catchy and your first listening to the tracks will get you in the mood to obliterate block. The sounds of the retro mode are also very consistent with the original Arkanoid game, to the point that I think the sounds are lifted straight from the original game. In my opinion, however, there’s not enough variety in the soundtrack and songs will repeat themselves regularly. It suffers from diminishing returns after the 18th play of that particular track to the point where you end up sick of listening to it.
What we Disliked
- Story is almost non-existent | The Neo mode acts as the story mode whereby we have to defeat the DOH. The story, however, is almost non-existent to the point where it has 3 lines of text which give you the bare basics and nothing else and thrusts you straight into the gameplay. No rationale for whom the DOH is, any reasons for defeating him, any motivations etc. If you are a fan of just picking up and playing then good for you, it’s right up your street but for me, it sparks as very lazy and I am very focussed on story and narrative and it offers none of this sadly. Furthermore, it is my belief that people whom pick up and play are already satisfied by the other modes that the game has to offer and NEO mode needed to be fleshed out by an actual story with a plot. An easy fix for this would have been for every 3 to 5 levels to have a bit of story, a cutscene, or even a few bits of text to build a narrative. If Pac-man could do 5 seconds of animation in between levels so can Arkanoid Eternal Battle.
- Player Numbers | The problem with putting ‘all your eggs in the one basket’ as the developers have done with Arkanoid Eternal Battle with the Eternal Battle mode is there needs to be a large active player base in order to create competitive matches that are exciting. It never got close to filling a lobby of 25 with players and the servers were very empty in my experience. The most I had in one match was 4 players, the rest was filled with AI players and whilst the AI was a decent level of difficulty it’s not the same as testing your skills against other players as this mode was intended to achieve. This is a massive shame as if there were more players on the server, the Eternal Batte mode would be excellent and competitive but without the human element, it feels empty and sad.
- Gameplay was infuriating | This fault may be partially down to me not being overly skilled but I have found on multiple occasions that many issues. Firstly, the paddle was far too slow to move and get into the correct position so whenever the ball was starting to move to a certain speed, which usually happens in this genre of gaming, you had to rely on dumb luck in order to get the paddle into the right place for the ball to rebound off. I would have preferred to control the paddle to the strength of how far left or right you push the stick, especially in times when you want the paddle to travel fast to meet the ball and push the stick as hard as you can but it’s not quick enough and you lose as a result. Secondly, frequently some objects would randomly appear right in front of your ball and change the direction of the ball instantly to the point where it was impossible to react to it and lose. Seriously, if it was a physical disk copy rather than a digital copy, it would have met the same fate as Fifa 16 in which I took the game out of the Xbox, opened my bedroom window and launched it into the open-world frisby style. On some occasions, it was regrettable that I was unable to do this. If the developers wanted to insert additional objects and obstacles to make the game tougher, I would have wanted them to appear much higher up so that way you aren’t a victim of bad luck and you have time to navigate around them.
How long to beat the story | Around 3 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Depends on your ability – I’d say 10 Hours
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