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Absolute Twin Blades


For: Mobile

Putting a spin on Breakout

Product: Absolute Twin Blades | Developer: Runestone Games | Publisher: GlobalFun | Format: Mobile | Genre: Arcade, Retro | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 361KB | Reviewed on: N95 8GB other handsets | Version: Europe
 
Absolute Twin Blades Mobile, thumbnail 1
Angles. Absolute Twin Blades is all about angles. In a nutshell, it's snooker meets arcade stalwart Breakout and, if you suck at judging angles, then it'll be the boss of you. This is a test of angle judging on-the-fly, balls bouncing from left to right, up and down, with almost no warning.

The Breakout comparison isn't a slight one, either. This is, essentially, the same block-breaking action, albeit played out in a slightly different arena. Rather than smashing balls using a flat Pong-style bat, you control a couple of curved racquets that you rotate around a central axis filled with squares, neatly tying in with the game's spherical setting.

Yes, Twin Blades has a planetary fix, seeing you take on said blocks in order to free planets from pending alien invasion. Smashing them up by pelting them with your ball is your only concern, swinging the bats clockwise or anti-clockwise (using the '4' and '6' keys respectively) to thwack the ball back into the centre.

With just four balls on offer, keeping them inside the circle is essential, each one that falls out counting as a life struck from the list. But both keeping them in play and taking out the squares in the centre is, in effect, the same task.

It's all a matter of judging just which direction the ball will bounce when it hits your blades, their curved nature meaning it's possible to send the ball firing off in all manner of directions.

The real tricky part is that both blades rotate at the same time. This takes some getting used to as far as choosing the right key to hold down is concerned. For example, if you're trying to move the top bat left, your instincts tell you to press '4', given that it sits on the left side of your handset. But the '4' key actually rotates your blades anti-clockwise, which will rotate the bat towards the right.

Confusing, or just part of the challenge? Either way, many a life can be lost this way and it never becomes especially clear whether it's a genuine test or merely a pitfall in the game's design. All we can attest to is that it leads to a few frustrating moments.

But that's so often the case in these odes to the arcade. Like Breakout before it, this isn't a game for the unskilled or terminally casual. While Twin Blades hands you endless continues when you run out of balls, it wipes your score each and every time, meaning anyone who really wants to compete and post an all-conquering score has to be on their game.

There are bonuses to sweeten the deal, however. You can clear whole leagues of squares in an instant by smashing the ball into the bombs that are encased in some of the levels, for instance, while you can also activate power-ups by hammering into the blue bricks that release various icons.

These icons, once captured by one of your bats, can then turn your ball into a fireball, smashing through blocks willy-nilly, or cause it to stick to your blades, giving you time to adjust before flinging it back into play with the '5' key.

None of this will really make any difference if merely controlling the ball is your Achilles' heel, of course, and even those who have thrived on Breakout and its scores of recent mobile clones might find Absolute Twin Blades a surprisingly different prospect.

That is, control difficulties or not, Absolute Twin Blades' strength. While to all intents and purposes this is Breakout, it's a title that complements the Atari classic rather than simply copying it.

The spherical twist isn't as revolutionary as it might first appear, but it's distinct enough to ensure that Absolute Twin Blades can hold its own, bringing its own unique digression to a well trodden path.
 
Absolute Twin Blades
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 21 April 2009
An ode to arcade classic Breakout with a neat twist, Absolute Twin Blades is not without challenge and may well prove too taxing for those out for a gentle block-buster
 
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