Review: Mindjolt's Paddle Games Part 2
Part two of Bright Hub's look at Mindjolt's Pong and Breakout clones available on Facebook. We are going ot look at Pongout 1 and 2, Pwong and Xenocrate 2.
In the world of video games few legacies are as large as that left behind by Pong and Breakout. Few game fanatics could go through childhood without playing either game. So large is this legacy that Mindjolt has a catalog of games emulating the look and gameplay of both games. In this half of Bright Hub's review of Mindjolt's Pong and Breakout style games, we are going to look at four more games. One is a new take on Pong, another is the Breakout clone named one of the best games Mindjolt has to offer, and two more where you play both Pong and Breakout at the same time!
Pong out is an extremely difficult combination of both Pong and Breakout. The game board is split into two boards with Breakout on the left, and Pong on the right. You play both games at the same time with your mouse. Move the mouse left to right to control the paddle in the Breakout side, and move the mouse up and down top control the Pong paddle. Even on easy this game will drive you crazy with frustration. The graphics in this game look ancient, at least in terms of the video game world. The simplicity of the graphics only makes the game that much more frustrating. Something that looks this old school shouldn't be that hard, right? Trust me, no matter how frustrated you get, you'll come back for more.
Pong Out 2 gameplays is almost the exact same as the original. The only difference is it looks nicer and, although the gameplay is the same, it seems easier. Where the first game would not look out of place in the original Atari 2600 line-up, PongOut 2 has had a much needed visual overhaul. Unfortunately, the music and sound effects are the same in PongOut 2 as the first installment which consists of a boring techno song lopping over and over, and a bleep when you die or get a bonus. The game is still fun and extremely challenging, but when a new installment in a series is released, changing something of the gameplay should be a requirement.
Pwong is an insane Pong clone. You start off with one ball and it goes up from there. You can, at one point, have over 20 balls on the screen. Points are accumulated by having the computerized opponent miss a ball. For every ball that leaves the board on the computer's side of the board you gain one point; for every ball that leaves the board on your side you lose a point. You can also gain “ammo" by picking up large balls that drop from the top of the game board. Ammo allows tyou to shoot an extra paddle up into the board. It will stay only a few seconds then disappear. Unfortunately this game, like the PongOut series, incorporates the same style of techno song and plays it on a loop. Please, if you are a game developer and if you are thinking of ever creating a Pong clone, I implore you, be original in your ideas for music. Techno suits some games very well, but a Pong game is only a Pong game no matter how many house-pounding beats you try to put in it.
I've said it before and I will say it again, Xenocrate 2 is one of the best games in the Mindjolt library. It is also one of the best free Breakout clones available. Xenocrate 2 is fun and fast Breakout goodness. The nostalgia runs high when playing this game. Like Breakout, the goal is to remove all the blocks from the screen. Blocks disappear when they are hit with the ball. The player must ensure that the ball doesn't fall off the board by bouncing it off the paddle. Xenocrate 2 has twenty levels to play through and a great selection of bonus blocks that will sometimes fall when regular game blocks on the board disappear. Not all of the “bonus" blocks are good, be aware that some will kill you, or make your paddle smaller. The look and feel of Xenocrate 2 is very old school. It looks much like the original but has enough nice additions to the game graphics to make it a pure winner.