Bright, colourful levels
Trikanoid is a fantastic Breakout game, and once you start playing it, you will definitely become addicted! It's actually a remake of the old 80s Spectrum game Arkanoid (which is, in turn, one of the earliest home ports of the classic arcade game), and has kept all of the original, while at the same time, updating it for modern computers.
The aim of the game is simple - use your paddle and ball to destroy all the bricks on screen. Once all the bricks are destroyed, and the screen is cleared, you can progress to the next level. Some bricks require multiple hits before they will break, while other bricks will not break at all! To help you in your task, some bricks hide a Power Up, and when the brick is broken, the Power Up is released, and you have to catch it with your paddle. Power Ups are things like Extra Life, Extra Points, Tripple Ball (splits the ball into 3), Laser (lets you shoot the bricks above), Freeze Ball (sticks the ball to your paddle, so you can choose where to fire it off from again), Escape Granted (lets you progress to the next level early, if you wish), and more. One major difference with Trikanoid, and the original Arkanoid, is that when you complete a level, you're not automatically teleported to the next level - you have to move your paddle into the pipes on the left or right side. This was a nice feature, and something a bit different from the usual Breakout games.
Another slight change is that, after a short time, in the original Arkanoid, aliens begin to appear, giving you an extra level of challenge. But in this version, the aliens have been replaced with circular saws. Sounds strange, but it really works, with the updated graphics. I had a lot of fun destroying those saws, and gaining extra points.
As I said, the aim of Trikanoid, is to destroy all the bricks on each screen, before progressing to the next level.
As the game starts, you are greeted with the Main Menu, which gives you the option to continue an old game, start a new game, enter a new player name, see the high scores, see game instructions, see the credits, or quit the game. Another option on the menu is the option to change pad movement between 'Normal', and 'Ball', which can be changed at any time, by pressing 'M' on your keyboard - however, I didn't really understand the difference with these 2 modes. The menu is navigated by using the Up & Down cursor keys, and then using Space to select your option.
Once the game begins, you can choose either the mouse, or the keyboard to play, depending on which you prefer. If using the mouse, simply move the mouse Left or Right, and use mouse button to launch the ball. If using the keyboard, use Left or Right cursor keys, with the Space Bar being used to launch the ball. The game can be paused at any time by pressing 'P', or you can return to Main Menu by pressing 'Esc'.
You start with 4 lives (as shown at bottom left), but you can gain more lives through Power Ups, or you can lose a life if you miss the ball and it falls through bottom of the screen. One thing I found frustrating, is that sometimes, the ball sped up at an alarming rate, making it impossible to catch, thus losing one of your precious lives. Thankfully, if you lose all your lives, you can easily continue from the last level you played, meaning you don't have to go right back to the start, and replay those levels again.
There are 34 levels in total, and after Level 33, you get the meet the End Boss - Doh - and try and destroy him.
Trikanoid isn't just a straight remake of Arkanoid - it's an updated version, and the graphics (and sounds, but I'll go into that later) reflect this. Bricks themselves are bright and colourful, and pretty to look at. Some of the levels even form a picture that you have to slowly destroy. Backgrounds are dark, hi-res pictures that are interesting to look at, but don't clash with the foreground bricks.
I love how the circular saws appear with a roar, and move slowly around the screen, trying their best to stop you hitting those bricks.
Power Ups drop down in the form of coloured capsules, and you have to catch them with your paddle. However, when you are trying to concentrate on the ball (or balls, as the case may be), keep an eye on the circular saws, and trying to hit the bricks, it's not always so easy to glance at the capsule colour, and remember what Power Up it represents. But that's only a minor niggle.
SOUND AND MUSIC
Trikanoid has a lot of sound effects, that all add a lot of atmosphere to the game. There's a general background noise that sounds like it's in some kind of futuristic factory, with steel banging, and machines chugging away. The ball makes a satisfactory 'thud' as it hits either the bricks or the paddle. Keeping with the futuristic theme, as female voice informs you when you've lost a life. She also lets you know what Power Up you just caught, which is helpful, as sometimes things are so hectic, you don't really know what you've picked up.
Music is used sparingly, but is very dramatic, and gives you a sense of urgency and danger. It starts out quietly, but then builds up to a climatic finish. The game has 8 different music scores, which are played throughout the game. I found, the same clip repeated on a loop for the first few levels, but after that, the music became more varied. And each clip is a pleasure to hear.
Trikanoid is a highly-polished Breakout\Arkanoid game that every fan of the genre is sure to love. While is is a remake of the classic Arkanoid game at heart, a lot of work has been put into updating it, so it looks and sounds amazing. The classic gameplay of trying to break every brick on screen is very addictive, and you'll soon find yourself coming back for another shot. The game boasts a good amount of Power Ups, although when the gameplay is fast and furious, it's not always so easy to figure out what Power Up is coming towards you, until you've actually caught it. The game is very easy to control, and allows you to use either the mouse, or the keyboard, depending on which you prefer. The number of lives you have is shown on the bottom right, and when you run out of lives, you can start again from the last level, rather than going all the way back to the start. Bricks are nice and colourful, while the backgrounds are dark, hi-res pictures. The backgrounds being dark means it doesn't clash with the bricks, so it's easy to see exactly how many bricks are left to destroy. I love that some levels form a picture that you have to destroy. The enemies are a lovely addition, and add an extra bit of challenge. Sound effects are also impressive, giving the whole game a feel of urgency. Background music, while used sparingly, adds to the game's atmosphere.
Definitely one of the better Breakout games out there.
Review by: Frodo
Safe for all ages
Mac OS X