Anodia, a compelling new brick breaker from Clueless Little Muffin, is now available from the app store. While most brick breakers are stale, generic clones of one another, Anodia uses stunning level design and an enjoyable Campaign mode to add beauty and replayability to a standout offering in an oversaturated genre.
- Stunning level design with Retina Display graphics
- Touch or tilt control options
- Enjoyable Campaign mode with aggregate scoring
- Bunch of power-ups, including Gravity Field power
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements
- No in-game music
- Controls could be a bit tighter
For the most part, Anodia plays like your average brick breaker. You launch a ball into the field of play, using it to destroy all of the bricks on screen without letting the ball leave the bottom of the screen. You control a paddle that moves horizontally on a fixed plane, ricocheting the ball back into the mix whenever it attempts to am-scray. Some destroyed bricks will cause power-ups or power-downs to fall. Touching these with your paddle activates the power. Some are helpful (slowing the ball speed, increasing the paddle width, giving you weapons to shoot bricks, etc.), and others will hinder your performance (shrink your paddle, speed up the ball, crazy physics, temporary paralysis, etc.). These mechanics all work well and everybody goes home happy.
Where the game really takes off is in its design. Whereas most brick breakers use some variation of colored, rectangular bricks in rigid, boring formations, Anodia utilizes a plethora of unique objects to serve as bricks, with a good mix of static and dynamic pieces. These objects include light fixtures that swing from ropes, light bulbs on a spinning circle, spirograph-style images, spinning propellers, colorful orbs, large pixel-based images, objects that fade in and out of view, and much more. Additionally, each object requires a specific number of touches to be destroyed, denoted by the heart symbol at the screen top. There is also a terrific gravity field power at your disposal that causes any and all balls on the screen to be pulled toward a tapped location for a brief period of time, which is a great feature when you only have a brick or two left. Rather than knock the ball around for a while until you are able to hit the object, you can activate the gravity field power (which is rechargeable) to hunt down that last one so that you can move on.
Anodia contains both a Campaign mode and Quick Play mode. Campaign takes you through a progression of 48 levels, aggregating your score which we believe is composed of some combination of your level time and highest score multiplier. You do have a certain number of lives to lose, though completing a level without losing one will net you the full 3 stars for that board. Each ball you lose costs you a star. If you lose all of your lives, the campaign ends. You can choose to start over from level one or cash in 20,000 points for an additional five balls and continue on. Quick Play mode gives you immediate access to any level that you previously completed during the Campaign. There are an additional 5 levels in a mini-campaign, as well.
The Retina Display graphics give the terrific level design that extra sharpness that makes all objects, most notably the intricate geometric designs, pop. The animations are fluid and the physics seem pretty spot on. Power-ups contain a colored ring that denotes whether they are positive or negative, so you can tell at a glance if you need to hit them or avoid them. When activated, the power-up symbol appears in the lower left corner of the screen, next to the score multiplier that you accumulate for repeated consecutive contacts with bricks. Each has rings that slowly erode to indicate its remaining time. When the power-up ring is gone, it disappears and the power is inactive. When the ring around the multiplier disappears, the multiplier drops another point until it reaches 1x, unless you hit more bricks to keep it going. The menu music is catchy and upbeat, but once you launch into the levels, it stops, leaving you with only the sound effects from the ball, the power-ups, and the bricks. This was a bit disappointing, as we always like to have the option to listen to something musical in the background. You can control the paddle using either tilt or touch controls. We preferred the touch controls, as we felt a better sense of precision, especially when dealing with multiple balls at once. Launching the ball requires either a double-tap below the paddle line or a swipe from the ball into the direction that you want it to go, which we found to be a bit spotty as far as its consistency. Activating the gravitational field requires a tap on the desired spot.
Replay value is great, with a lengthy campaign and GameCenter integration for global leaderboards (best campaign score and best level score for both the Starter Campaign and Miniblocks Campaign) and 32 achievements to earn. There is an instruction section that explains the game screen layout, as well as all of the different power-ups so that you’ll know what each does and what to expect when you see them during the course of a game. As a universal app, Anodia can be played on any iOS device while retaining its good looks. For the introductory price of $0.99 (it’ll be $1.99 very soon), Anodia is a 4.5-Dimple stud that’s an easy recommendation for anyone.