by: Astraware, go
to the web site
III device or newer; Palm OS 3.1 or higher including
OS 5.x; Palm & Sony Hi-Res (320x320), Palm Standard
is brick bashing for a new generation. Of course it's been
a long time since we had to listen to the irritating pong-like
beeps of Breakout and all its imitators. Still, Ricochet
is another new level of addictive game achievement for
Astraware. Rich graphics, challenging game play and decent
audio combine to create an engaging, playable enviroment
in which to waste endless hours of downtime.
Ricochet on a Palm Zire 71 (PalmOS 5.2.1) and a Sony Clie
N760C (PalmOS 4.1). The software installed and ran perfectly
on both PDAs. We did not encounter any lockups, bugs, crashes
or other problems.
has produced an nice stable of games for the PC including
a clone of the classic Breakout game which Reflexive called
Ricochet. Astraware ported Ricochet to PalmOS and here
we are. This version is faithful to the PC release complete
with a solid music track and excellent graphic design which
shows off the best of the PalmOS display and graphics rendering
engine. Leave it to Astraware (the evil progenitors of
the insanely addictive Bejeweled) to tweak things perfectly
for PalmOS. The graphics in each game level take full advantage
of the high resolution displays available these days and
looks particularly good on the Palm Zire 71 because of
its gorgeous, bright display.
Every part of each level is nicely finished - on all 150
levels (plus powerups) - and we really couldn't find anything
to criticize. On the contrary, the well designed levels
and our idiotic desire to keep ramping up the difficulty
level kept us poking at this thing for hours. Like the
original Breakout, only the smooth operators survive. Anticipation
is everything in Ricochet - anticipating ball movement,
anticipating the next two positions of the ricochet bar,
anticipating the results of different brick effects as
they're hit, and speeding up those decision processes depending
on the difficulty setting.
As for pure playability, if you like Breakout-type games
in the first place, Ricochet should be the crown jewel
in your collection (at least on PalmOS). The challenge
of dealing with the varous brick types adds to the fun.
As a matter of fact, many levels use a mixture of brick
types and you will be wise to look carefully at what you
aim for because, for example, if you hit a Changer brick
it will alter the physics of all the bricks next to it.
Exploding bricks are fun and definitely help get through
a level, but Pusher bricks can actually make a mess of
a level by shoving adjacent bricks onto a nearly impenetrable
mass. There's always a way to win though, as long as you
maintain properly anticipatory control over the ricochet
first, we hated the ultra fast response of the Palm Zire
71 joystick control built into the device - it moved
the ricochet bar much too quickly and we kept overshooting
the ball in Easy mode. As soon as we switched to Medium
speed however, the fast response of the little joystick
was absolutely perfect for the game. On all PDAs, the
outside left & right buttons are the best choices (hi-speed
response), while the slower inside left & right buttons
are better suited to Easy mode. If you've got a device
with a joypad or joystick you can it to pause the game,
fire the ball and move the ricochet bar.
Cons: Some levels could use a bit more brightness; at
the moment, the majority of levels seem very sombre. Ball
physics occasionally lag in certain levels but game play
is not adversely affected.
At the beginning of each level, a constructor sets
up the bricks as you watch, so you get a chance to see
where all the key bricks are located as they're put in
place. Obtaining a real arcade feel with a PalmOS game
is difficult, but
control of the ricochet bar. Fast response to control input.
Highly playable, useful scorekeeping. Game play is addictive
and there are an enormous number of levels and powerups.
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