Reviewed January 2003
I became a faithful fan of Reflexive after
playing their excellent space flight-shooter game Swarm on
the PC. Despite that, I never knew that Reflexive had developed
a Breakout game for the PC called Ricochet until Astraware
ported it to Palm. Just as with other Reflexive games, Ricochet
showcases some slick artwork and visual effects and gives
this classic game a new interpretation. Astraware always
has a keen eye for fun and addictive games, and thanks to
that, we have another great Palm OS game.
The power-ups and brick variations add
twists to the classic game play. Ricochet has 4 distinct
environments where not only do the graphics look distinct
from each other, but the power-ups and brick behaviors are
also very different. When you pick up power-ups, you will
see some usual effects such as fire balls, multiple balls,
change of the size and speed of the balls, and some unusual
ones like the rail ball, guns and rockets. There are also
levels that have balls trapped in the brick structure, bouncing
and waiting for you to liberate them. Of course, there are
power-ups that will change your shield (paddle) as well,
making it longer or shorter. There’s even one that
turns your shield into an “electro-magnetic ball catcher”.
Among the special effect bricks, there
are exploding bricks. If you hit them, they will destroy
all the neighboring bricks or cause a chain reaction if any
of the neighboring bricks are exploding bricks. Some bricks
move around the screen, giving you chance to come up with
more than one strategy on where to hit the ball. The Push
bricks will collide into the bricks beside them each time
you hit them. The Changers will start a chain reaction when
you hit it, and you will have an entirely different type
of bricks before you know it. I had one level where I hit
a Changer, and all of sudden; all my bricks turn into explosive
bricks. You will see a mix of these special bricks in many
of the 150 plus levels. You'll run into levels where the
bricks will destroy themselves with a couple of hits, while
other levels will take you forever to finish.
Ricochet offers plenty of great visual
effects and animations and is one of the best Breakout games
on Palm OS. The game is divided into four unique environments,
each with its own brick styles and color themes. You will
appreciate the cold steel-like bricks on the steel gray background,
or the nautical sign bricks on the deep ocean background.
The artwork is slick and the brick design and layout show
great creativity. Astraware did a great job porting the game,
making Ricochet one of the best looking games on Palm.
The only thing missing in the Palm
version is the music and various sound FXs. The best sound
you will get is melodic midi mix even on Sony Cliés
and OS 5 devices-- a very stripped down version of its
full sound package in Reflexive’s original. Ricochet
for Palm supports OS 3.1 and higher, including Sony hi-res
and OS 5 devices.
Just when you think a classic game has
been cloned enough, a game like Ricochet will give you a
pleasant surprise. The stylish graphics and interesting game
play will capture both casual gamers and Breakout faithful.
With large number of levels and plenty of layout variations,
Ricochet will give you a great run for your money!
Playing Hint and Tips
Check out what all the power-ups give you!
Above, high res version
for Sony Clie and Palm OS 5 PDAs. Below standard res 160
x 160 version.