Overall Score 63%
As you might guess, Brickout is a Breakout clone. There are no big innovations although a few of the pickups are fun.
The backgrounds are simple full screen textures such as wood, rock, outer space etc. and the blocks are plain rectangles with drop shadows and a bit of shading to make them look solid. The full screen graphics are high-res, the fonts are easy to read and the icons anti-aliased too. The in-game icons are bright and cartoony and reminded me of Team-17's Worms games.
Good points aside though there are no special effects apart from a shower of dots when bricks vanish, and overall the 2D graphics are poor by modern game standards and show no invention in either visual effects or style. If Brickout was played on a digital watch or a mobile phone then this might be interesting to see, but my Geforce 6 PC pointed at this game and mocked it with a cruel laugh.
The sound is awful. There are generally only two sounds you hear; bounce off bat and bounce off wall, and they are not pleasant to listen to for more than a minute or so. Occasionally you hear a third, an explosion. It's that muffled but at the same time distorted freeware explosion sound that has been hanging around since the 8-bit days. The drum-n-bass style music deserved a swift death and the off control on my amplifier was my weapon of choice. At least an effort was made though. There are a few different effects for different brick surfaces, and the audio quality is sufficient even if the choice and variety of sounds was not to my taste.
To play, this is like any 80's breakout game. The ball handling is very basic but still better than some clones I've played. The game speed is about right and the pickups and variety of blocks do keep things interesting. Giant score readouts look crude, but these convey the information in a clear and matter-of-fact way.
An integral level editor is provided and players can download and swap levels with others, which is probably required because there are only 50 levels, just 25 for the normal game and 25 for the alternative 'classic mode'.
In fact the game, although basic and lacking in innovation or sparkle, is very well put together. Some basics are missing though, like options for volume controls but the game plays well enough out of the box. There is no manual or readme, which is a shame, especially when options for difficulty and classic mode are provided with no explanation.
A manual takes only a day or two, and a readme one morning to write, so there is no excuse for any game ever to leave a user stuck with a problem or a question about the game.
A breakout clone with no innovation will (probably) never earn a gold, but despite outdated graphics and annoying sound, Brickout manages to simply be fun enough to claw itself above the half way mark.
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