May 23, 2022

Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure Review

ABG Review of Lillymo Games’ Twin Breaker. A 90’s-style brick-breaker game with an amusing, satirical sci-fi story and equally entertaining dialogue. Our review inside.

Lillymo Games’ Twin Breaker is a 90’s-style brick-breaker game with an amusing, satirical sci-fi story and equally entertaining dialogue. Featuring boss battles, an amusing plot, 40+ levels and multiple extra modes.

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Story

In the early 2300’s, Earth is recovering from a protracted war which decimated the planet and most of the world’s economy. The USA, however, remained neutral and reaped the rewards of providing the only stable market. As a result, the US established itself as the world’s leading economy.

Two Handsome Men

Ignoring the conflict, US scientists looked to the skies, and sent generation ships into interstellar space in the hopes of colonising the galaxy. However, one-by-one, the ships stopped responding. Until one day, the first ship dispatched appeared around Mars and dispatched a data dump that led us to a wormhole in our galaxy. In order to unearth the mysteries of the generation ship disappearances, two handsome scientists were sent in breaker pods and encounter many obstacles.  

Gameplay

Twin Breaker’s gameplay is a bit more difficult than traditional brick breakers. You have the usual increasing rebound speed, but you also have two paddles to control. Luckily, you have a considerable number of power-ups that drop throughout each level to assist you.

Twin Breaker Power-Ups

Controlling multiple paddles takes some getting used to and, just when you get used to it, the screen rotates so that your paddles are flipped vertically. If that doesn’t have a sufficiently steep learning curve for you, then you can look forward to controlling four paddles…

Four…FOUR paddles

As time runs out, you’re faced with an invasion of Generation Shuttles, going from left to right. It’s similar to how Space Invaders levels end when you run out of time. The busses destroy the blocks and deduct points from your total. You die when that total reaches zero.

With regards to the gameplay, I found it difficult to predict the rebound direction of the ball. I spent a bit of time trying to work out the altered physics to no avail, as the ball seemed to rebound randomly in the same direction as the side of the paddle it struck. This was regardless of the ball’s trajectory and speed. It made moving the paddles strategically to target specific blocks more difficult than it needed to be.

Likewise, I also found that the hit boxes, even that of the ball, were not quite as refined as they could be. For instance, when targeting a hole in the blocks, the ball often would rebound off the neighbouring block rather than continuing its path. I think this exacerbated the issue of trying to predict ball rebound.

Modes

Twin Breaker offers various modes once you have finished the story which are all similar to Tetris, in that they’re never-ending.

Main Menu & Modes

Marathon Mode: The levels found in the story, but continuous until you run out of lives.

Shooter Mode: You have the shooter power-up, and have to use that to destroy falling blocks. As the level progresses, blocks transition to falling faster and requiring more than one shot to destroy them

Catcher Mode: You need to catch falling coins and avoid scarab beetles. Again, coin fall hastens and scarabs become more frequent.

Boss Rush Mode: Each level has a different boss, and you continue until you have zero lives.

Pong Mode: You play a game of pong in which you have to out-score bosses. The easiest way to do this, is to destroy the boss and try to score a couple points before it respawns. The levels become more complex as you progress.

Performance

As I expected, there were absolutely no performance issues on the PS4 Pro. The game performed consistently, with no noticeable frame rate drops. This was maintained as the levels become more complex, as well as during boss fights. Frame pacing also seemed perfect. Performance-wise, Twin Breaker knocks it out of the park.

Graphics

The developers very much adhered to a retro-style arcade aesthetic, and it looks nice. Likewise, there were some pleasant dynamic backgrounds, which I would liken to those found in Sonic Mania. It’s a charming homage to the style.

However, I feel the strict adherence to this aesthetic resulted in diminishing returns. The visuals became somewhat bland after a while, and each level sort of felt homogeneous. I didn’t feel like the visuals led to any standout stages. The gameplay is definitely the star of Twin Breaker.

Audio

The game features some nice arcade sounds, with a satisfying “bloop” when your paddle rebounds the ball. Likewise, when you take damage from bosses or those pesky space scarabs, there’s a Space Invaders-like crashing noise.

I had a love-hate relationship with the soundtrack. The electronic track pulled me back to my SEGA Megadrive days, evoking the desired nostalgia. Each level had different tracks, or variations of the previous track. Likewise, boss fights had a more intense track. The repetition of the soundtrack, however, also led to me muting the game occasionally.

I want to note though, that my preference for gaming soundtracks are more aligned to the softer orchestral soundtracks found in Witcher 3 and Final Fantasy X – or indeed the metal onslaught of DOOM – than the bouncing electronic tones found in arcade-style games.

I think that anyone who enjoys the soundtracks of retro games will consider this ear candy.

Overall Impressions

Twin Breakers absolutely achieves what it was is was supposed to. It provides novel challenges while remaining true to the genre. The story and dialogue were amusing, and was a welcome break between each level.

The challenge of learning to control multiple paddles was one I found quite rewarding. Stages that initially seemed beyond my coordination levels were eventually overcome, and it usually felt quite rewarding. Other times, it was more of a relief. Particularly level 37. That is forever etched in my memory as the one that nearly broke me.

There were some gameplay issues which I felt perhaps diminished my overall enjoyment. However, I think that the positives outweigh these negatives. I look forward to seeing what Lillymo Games produce in future.

Checkout Lillymo Games website here

  • 71%
    Overall - 71%
71%

Review Summary

+ Challenging gameplay that evolves as the game progresses

+ Superb Performance

+ Nice boss fights

+ Amusing Story

– Imprecise hitboxes limit approaching stages strategically

– Altered physics further impedes strategy and adds pressure to finish within the time limit

– Soundtrack could be a bit intense for some


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