Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure is a throwback to a bygone era. The graphics, music, gameplay, and even the menus are all reminiscent of an NES game.
This is obviously not the first modern console game to attempt this aesthetic, but it does do it quite well. And yet, it still manages to differentiate itself from brick breakers of yesteryear starting with its story-driven campaign.
The main mode in Twin Breaker is a story mode. Yeah, believe it or not, this Arkanoid and Breakout-inspired game has a story. Basically, humanity sends ships into space on a trip to colonize the galaxy, but no one ever hears back from the ships. So they decide to send another couple ships – which act as the paddles – to see what happened.
The 2D graphics and the 8-bit MIDI music are a nice throwback to the 1980s. The start screen and the cut scenes in the story mode are very reminiscent of an NES game. I enjoyed the design choice here to stick with the graphics style from just after the original Arkanoid arcade game.
Similarities to the classics
Each level is composed of a series of bricks that form different designs on the screen. You start with a single ball that you release which when it comes into contact with a brick breaks the brick. The ball bounces around based on the angle that it hits bricks and your paddle.
Some of the bricks can be removed with a single hit. Others take multiple hits. The goal of Twin Breaker is to clear all of the bricks from the screen. Each level provides you with a score based on your time and health. You lose health if the ball falls in a gap between your two paddles.
Differences from the classics
Unlike Arkanoid and Breakout, this game features a minimum of two different paddles. You control them independently of each other with the left and right analog sticks, respectively. Twin Breaker also differs from the classics since levels shift between horizontal and vertical gameplay.
Also unlike the originals, once you run out of health, you can spend accumulated points to buy more health. This makes things considerably easier than how I remember Arkanoid clones on the PC back in the 1990s. It makes things more accessible for younger audiences, but hardcore fans might not like the forgiving nature of the game.
However, it’s worth noting that the physics in this game can be wonky at times. I actually hit the ball with the backside of my paddle once and it went the opposite direction that you would expect it to go. So in that sense, it’s not always predictable.
One more difference to note: there are boss battles in the story mode. These levels have a boss attack your paddles while you try to clear all of the bricks and defeat the boss. This is a genuinely good addition. And if you like it, there’s a Boss Rush mode to keep you coming back for more.
Twin Breaker features a number of different power-ups that can both help or hinder your progress through the game. The power-ups are time-limited. They ocassionally fall from broken bricks. You have to catch them with your paddle to activate them.
Most of these are pretty standard fare for this type of game. You have power-ups that expand or shrink the paddle. You also have power-ups that give you extra balls or extra health. And then there are the guns that fire automatically that can break bricks.
Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure is not the most innovative game on the market. It follows the Arkanoid and Breakout formula pretty closely, but it does do enough new to make the concept feel somewhat fresh. And if you’ve never played a brick breaker before, this is a good entry point.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.