Classics like Breakout and Arkanoid are beloved titles that defined the brick breaker genre. In 2009 Shatter turned things on their head by bringing new game mechanics, redefining what a brick breaker could be. Shatter Remastered Deluxe brings the award-winning game back for the modern generation.
Shatter High Scores
Based in New Zealand, BAFTA and DICE Award nominated developer PikPok have a wealth of experience having released a catalogue of games across different genres since 1997.
Played here on the PS5 the game is also available on PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, Linux and Steam Deck.
There’s an iconic scene in the beloved 1995 movie Hackers that captures the beauty of Arcade games. As Cowgirl by Underworld blasts from the speakers, protagonist Dade aka Zero Cool (Jonny Lee Miller) takes on Kate’s (Angelina Jolie) challenge of beating her unrivalled top score in Wipeout. As he Shatters her score and climbs to the top of the leaderboard, another character exclaims “Congratulations, no one has ever beat her before. You just made an enemy for life.”
It is this high score chasing that is the essence of Shatter Remastered Deluxe.
The aim is simple – bounce a ball around to clear the stage of all its bricks and clock up the highest score your skills can muster. Multiple balls in play can increase your score but comes with the caveat of having to keep an eye on more things. The controls are simple with a very comfortable and familiar feel.
Differentiating it from other similar games is the “suck and blow” mechanic which allows you to alter the physics of how the balls bounce and travel. The inclusion of bosses at the end of each world is also not typical of the genre and give a nice switch of pace/challenge.
At the bottom of the screen is a power bar which is filled by sucking up shards, that are released by breaking bricks. Once filled it enables a powerful special attack called Shard Storm which obliterates everything in its path. The power meter can also be drained by the use of the shield, which protects you against projectiles and stray bricks.
Collecting shards also increases your score multiplier so if you want to beat the best then get that multiplier higher. Collecting power-ups can be a game changer – increased manoeuvrability, extra balls and increased ball power to name just a few.
There are different types of bricks with differing physical characteristics. Some are tethers that stop other bricks being effected by gravity. Others are like fireworks shooting off like a rocket when hit and exploding on impact with other bricks. It all adds to the mayhem in clearing a level and increases the challenge when trying to bag some high scores.
In typical arcade fashion you have some continues but using one resets your current world score right back to zero.
Graphics & Audio
The game is a feast for the eyes with delicious 4K visuals at 120fps (should your TV/monitor support). The high framerate really makes performance smooth and responsive. Colours are vibrant and explosions pop.
Boss designs are brilliantly conceived with some very clever mechanics for beating them for you to figure out. I’ve not spoiled them here so you go discover the for yourself.
The soundtrack of the original is intact here but has been remixed and remastered in 5.1 surround sound. Its a real banger that evokes vibes of Daft Punk. A headset is highly recommended as it heightens the immersion and gives you extra focus.
If there’s one gripe I can pick with the game is that the levels don’t use the full real estate of the screen. While not a deal breaker, it would be nice to have levels expanded make better use of the space available.
The story mode can be beaten in just a couple of hours with 10 worlds to play through and 10 bosses to beat. There are 7 game modes – Story, Endless, Endless Co-Op, Time Attack, Time Attack Co-Op, Bonus Mode and Boss Rush.
The Co-op modes are good fun adding a different dynamic to the game where you tactically coordinate attack and defence with your buddy.
At the price point of €9.99/£7.76/$9.99 this game delivers some bang for your buck.
Shatter Remastered Deluxe is the epitome of pure, unadulterated arcade gameplay. It’s easy to pick up, quickly addictive and the catchy soundtrack really enhances the experience. It’s the Wipeout of brick breakers.
The team have crafted an exquisite game that offers just the right blend of challenge and satisfying gameplay. It’s got appeal for casual players or the mastery of its skills to top the leaderboards for the dedicated hardcore players. If you’ve never tried a brick breaker this is the pinnacle of what the genre has to offer.
I am delighted to award this excellent title the Thumb Culture Platinum Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.