Game Review by Tim Peters
Game Rating = 4/5 Balls
Reaxxion from Hot Lava Games (later acquired by MumboJumbo) is one of the better Breakout clones available today. It’s also three years old. In the casual gaming business, where countless throwaway clones of games are forgotten within weeks after they’re released, Reaxxion still manages to be as playable and innovative as it was back in 2006. It doesn’t look or sound spectacular, but if you’re willing to look past the dated audio and visuals, you may very well find yourself addicted to this surprisingly entertaining game.
If for some reason you’ve never played Breakout or Arkanoid, Reaxxion is still a simple concept to pick up. All you have to do is use your paddle to bounce balls against the blocks on each level until they’re all destroyed. What makes Reaxxion unique lies in the sheer number of stuff you can get to do with this simple concept. Each level has a reactor, in which you can store balls and then transmute them into glowing globes of destruction. This in turn leads to a Secret Challenge round that throws even more balls at you. And that’s just the beginning.
By far, Reaxxion’s best asset lies in its sheer creativity. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the ball-generating system. It allows you to spawn balls at a cost of shrinking your paddle, and you can even choose the size of them. There are several power-ups as well. Some let balls shatter or pound through bricks, while others arm the paddle with blasters or lasers. None of these overshadow the playfield itself, with its intricate brick formations that often fly around the screen. And finally, there are the boss levels where you go head to head with an enemy paddle a la Pong. Dull moments simply don’t exist in Reaxxion.
The game’s only glaring weakness is its presentation. The futuristic neon industrial look is an eyesore, and while the block formations are intricately placed, everything else lacks this visual attention to detail. The status readouts aren’t always readable, making it easy to miss important details like the Secret Challenge Level progress (and timer) on the right side of the screen. The sound effects are all annoying, from the laughably serious announcer to the siren that signals a paddle overload. Musically the game is simply boring, with a tedious electronica soundtrack. At best the music is dull, but at worst the cheesy samples make it downright obnoxious.
If you missed Reaxxion when it first came out a few years ago, give it a look now. If you’re willing to put up with the mediocre graphics and sound, $20 is a bargain for all the fun you’ll get out of this brick-busting classic. Reaxxion is one of the better games of its kind out there – even after three years. Highly recommended, and rated 4 out of 5.
OS: Windows 98 Windows 2000 Windows XP Windows Me Windows 98SE
Memory: 256 MB
DirectX: 8.1 or later
Video: Direct3D 8 compatible 16 or 32-bit Video Car