The United States sends generation ships to nearby star systems to find new planets to colonize. But once in interstellar space, the ships mysteriously disappear. When clues emerge about the missing spacecraft, two pilots jump through a wormhole into a story-driven brick breaker in the spirit of Arkanoid and Breakout.
With Twin Breaker, the team at Lillymo, along with Moriarty and Maldenado, have constructed a wonderful take on a time-honoured genre that has been woefully underserved in recent years.
Despite some flaws, Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure is a sincere homage to an underrated sub-genre. It captures what made classics like Arkanoid and Breakout beloved while putting its own special spin on the formula. The result is brick-breaking bliss that I would recommend to most lovers of arcade indies.
Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure sets itself apart from other brick-breakers by not only having a narrative but also by including some unique systems. The multiple paddles add some new elements to the genre to put brick-breaker masters’ skills to the test. Regardless of the challenge, the game has a nice difficulty curve that makes it possible to pick up and enjoy a few levels at a time. Still, Twin Breaker lacks options and some quality-of-life features that could have made the entire experience more enjoyable. There are a few different modes here to keep you playing, but I can see most players just getting through the story and then quickly moving on to something else.
It’s a lot of fun to play, though – and should prove a treat for fans who’ve been following Moriarty since the days of Shatter on the PlayStation 3.
On the whole I enjoyed Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure. I am not normally a fan of this type of game but the old-school presentation and interesting story made it enjoyable. I am happy I got to play it. Plus you get 2 versions for the price of one, what’s not to like.
The writing during the story and in collectibles is typically great, the boring moments in gameplay are hard to come by (especially during the first playthrough), and it’s a rare well-priced PlayStation Vita release that offers replayability on the go. I doubt Twin Breaker will manage to find much of an audience outside of Sacred Symbols listeners, but I’m glad that the game Sacred Symbols fans are receiving is a solid and unique one.
Overcoming its unnecessary and glib narrative, Twin Breaker manages to be a fun, if not terribly original, retro adventure with plenty of content.
Great game, really enjoyed it. Fun and challenging game play with tons of game modes to extend the game. Controls are tight and the power ups make for a fun loop. The second half ups the challenge and adds 2 other paddles and really makes the game different. The plat isn’t too crazy and won’t be too much for most people.
If you had asked me within the past decade, “Do you think the ‘Brick Breaker’ genre could make a comeback?” I would have dismissively said, “No.” That being said, I definitely made an err in judgement. “Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbol Adventure” by Lillymo Games is simultaneously a wonderful throwback to an era in video games long lost to the annals of time as well as clever modernization of the genre for a new era.
First let us rewind the clock a bit— Brick Breakers are at their core a sub-genre of the 1972, arcade (and early home consoles’) classic, “Pong.” Four-years later, Nolan Bushnell and Steve Bristow, would refine the bat-and-ball premise with “Breakout,” which besides having a ball and paddle incorporated bricks to destroy in order to rack-up a high score. Many years later a game aptly named, “Brick Breaker,” would truly cement the sub-class’s moniker, however, even with its eponymous name it is still deemed a ‘Breakout Clone.’
“Twin Breaker” takes the history and nostalgia of “Breakout” (and others—like 1986’s Arkanoid) and pays loving homage, while also adding in a lacquer of polish to an otherwise archaic mold. “Twin Breaker” captures the chirpy, chiptunes that always accompanied older games, the (nearly) everlasting pixel art aesthetic, and the arcadey action of “Breakout.” It does so with ease, but if it were to merely clone an arcade title that has been duplicated so many times before, “Twin Breaker” would have been left wanting. Instead, it brings the genre into a new decade by adding in modern sensibilities. Not only does “Twin Breaker” take a tried-and-true genre, but it does so with smashing success.
Colin Moriarty, (one of the developers of “Twin Breaker,” owner/founder of Colin’s Last Stand, and co-host to a plethora of podcasts including “Sacred Symbols”) wrote a fantastic, science-fiction narrative to pair with an already solid title. It is exploratory in its palaver with the audience as it provides humor with more-serious underpinnings and motifs. Conveyed via splash screens and dialogue bubbles between Colin and Chris (the two protagonists of the game), it dissects a very real possibility of Earth’s place in the universe and how humanity’s interactions with one another could aid or hinder the celestial hierarchy without any of us truly knowing.
Pretty weighty stuff, eh? Don’t be too alarmed by the story. It isn’t unnecessarily filled with jargon or high end philosophical stances; it merely expresses these issues as a framework, while the more tongue-in-cheek humor in the dialogue fleshes out the rest of the story. That being said, if you wanted to dive headlong into the lore of this universe, there are codexes to unlock that further the player’s understanding of the world that they are experiencing. Playing a Brick Breaker that includes a narrative is rare and perhaps unheard of— The story and dialogue do not feel needlessly tacked onto an already decent ”Breakout” clone. The story uplifts and fits snugly within the gameplay and vice-a-versa.
In addition to the inclusion of a narrative, “Twin Breaker” also works in innovative gameplay mechanics that keeps the pacing and moment-to-moment action thrilling and incredibly viable. Every ten levels (in the 40 level campaign) features a unique boss battle, which work masterfully in the game’s pacing of difficulty. Halfway through “Twin Breaker,” two pairs of paddles are introduced, resulting in my favorite line of the game delivered by Colin’s “Sacred Symbol’s” podcast co-host, Chris, “This should make things a little easier.” (F.Y.I. It doesn’t). However, this gameplay addition provides more difficulty and increases tension, which ultimately applies a nice little twist to the level designs that implement this feature.
I highly recommend “Twin Breaker,” especially if you grew-up with arcades and classic home consoles. It scratches a particular itch that not a lot of other games can reach. In our first ever review score for ASInquisitor, my lovely “Rage Quit” podcast co-host, Ariel, and I give it 4.5 ‘Polar Bear Paws’ out of 5. “Twin Breaker” harkens back to a golden era of arcades and Ataris with just the right amount of modernity.