In Zeppelin's variation on the Arkanoid theme, play begins in the centre of an array of 61 screens, with the standard bat, ball and bashable bricks. These brinks take varying hits to destroy, and some release money, bombs, and mystery bonus capsules.
When a screen is completed, a map of the matrix is displayed, and the player chooses a new screen adjacent to a completed one. Additional features can be added, such as missiles, enlarged bat, shield, retain ball, Quark gun, disruptor, and anti-gen (stops aliens appearing). These are selected from a list and are paid for with credits earned in the game.
Ball Blasta is one of the few Arkanoid inspired games which actually advances on the ideas of Taito's coin-op. Although it incorporates the usual 'drop from the sky' features, the supermarket method of gaining add-ons is much more interesting than capsule catching alone, and tactical buying is often necessary.
Being able to choose which screen you next face is a brilliant idea, and gives a feeling of freedom to play. Ball Blasta was programmed by the team who brought you Zybex and Draconus, which gives you a good idea of how well this looks, sounds and plays. Classy music, and colourful, detailed graphics add to a playable and imaginative Arkanoid variant - another hit from Zeppelin.
Blimey O'Reilly! This is certainly the month of the budget Breakout game! Ball Blasta's graphics are extremely psychedelic, with the usual mindbending scrolling backgrounds, retina-destroying colours and pulsating bricks (Groo! Can we handle all that?).
This all adds up to an impressive looking game with all the usual Arkanoid features and more. The problem is that Traz, my favourite game of the genre, has also appeared on budget, so my recommendations lean more in that direction.
Presentation 93% Impressive attract sequence and user-friendly in-game options.
Graphics 82% Well designed throughout but scrolling backgrounds can be a distraction.
Sound 91% High quality music and metallic effects.
Hookability 89% As instantly playable as most Arkanoid games, but with more to catch the interest.
Lastability 82% The screens are more accessible than most: however, brick layouts can become samey.
Overall 87% A clever Arkanoid remake from the producers of Draconus.