Break 'em All

The brick-busting genre powers up

You know all those games that line the movie theater hallways and Wal-Mart vestibules? Break 'em All is an homage to those one-quarter games that take all of six seconds to understand - you're a paddle on the bottom of the screen, ricocheting a ball around until it busts every floating brick along the top. If you've been wandering those movie halls for years now, the name Arkanoid may ring some bells.

But what differentiates Break 'em All from every other game like this is its infusion of shooter-like power-ups. Before you begin the seemingly endless puzzle mode, you choose a rack of powers that you'll be able to bust out during the game. The more points you earn, the further up the power list you move. For example, the first slot may slow the ball down, but if you keep busting, you can climb along the list until the ball becomes a brick-melting laser, searing through without bouncing back at all. The better your score, the higher up the evolutionary chain you rise, growing from an amoeba to alligator to man along the way. Yes.

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