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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC games

Bust’em 2 by Digital Concepts, Price: $6.99
Reviewed September 2003

The talent of Digital Concepts just keeps on shining. They have made a Breakout game that changed the way you look at that genre, a space shooter that looked and played like no other space shooter game, a motocross game that made X-gamers heartbeats race, and now they are just showing off! With an additional 100 great looking levels of frantic fun, Bust’em 2 screams its way onto our Pocket PC. And from what we can tell, it will give you another wild and trippy run at this unusual Breakout game that’s only loosely based on the original game play.

Like the first Bust’em game, Bust’em 2 isn’t about endlessly moving a paddle and bouncing a ball to break block formations. It’s about the actions and those power ups that generate them, and there are more than plenty of both to go around in Bust’em 2. For Bust’em fans, this game is a no-brainer. You want to buy it now. The newly added power ups alone are worthy the price of admission. You will find many if not all the power ups from Bust’em making appearances in this sequel: various ball types, food items and soda cans that duplicate and spit out balls and screaming airplanes spraying an army of attacking balls. There are new powers up like the gophers who mow the debris of the blocks, rockets that you can shoot up with your paddle and many more items that trap your balls into an early death.

The graphics in Bust’em looked so good that you can hardly think they could be improved. But Bust’em 2 proved that assumption wrong. In addition to the various frame shapes found in Bust’em, this sequel has added some teeth and small platforms to the frame, adding dynamic moves to your balls. For every few levels you clear, you get rewarded with a new frame design that has both an interesting shape and 3D texture. Marble and mahogany never looked so good! Of course, you will enjoy the flying debris of the blocks, power up items and balls when they hit the ground, and the animation of those little ground critters when they dig up the debris and spray it around your paddle. The power up effects are just as spectacular as in the last game with some new special effects that come with the new power ups.

The sound FX kept its signature crashing, screaming and exploding audio palette, while the music tracks are perfectly composed to go with the game pace. You will find volume controls for both sound FX and music in the Options menu. And to keep the Cheat-code tradition, you will find a cheat sheet in Game Info. We’ve tested the game on both Pocket PC 2002 and 2003 devices and it runs fine on both. Bust’em 2 takes about 2MB storage space.

If you are new to the game of Bust’em series, you might look at the screen full of dancing balls eating up the blocks in awe. But for those of you who had enjoyed the first game and will look for the nuances and new excitement in Bust’em 2, you won’t be disappointed.

Playing Hints and Tips

Unlike in the first Bust’em game, there are no introduction levels to the new power ups. You need to observe what these power ups do to you during the game and remember to pick the up or avoid them at all cost.

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ARM & XScale



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics A polished game just got a face-lift. The 3d game board and block design gave a new look to the game.
Sound Music fits the mood while sound FX scream top-notch.
Fun Meter If all Breakout games are this much fun, I might change my favorite genre and ditch RPG! If you’ve played Bust’em to death, this is your chance to get renewed excitement!
Addictivity The brand new 100 level set up will last you for a while. Depends on which power ups you pick up, each level can turn out very differently each time you play it. Bust’em 2 seems to have gotten a bit harder than the first game, which is a great news for veterans.

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