STAFF REVIEW of Shatter Remastered Deluxe (Xbox One)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023.
by Brent Roberts

Shatter Remastered Deluxe Box art In gaming we find ourselves amidst an endless supply of cookie-cutter titles that struggle to find their own identity and innovation, all the while charging top retail figures and expensive DLC. Shooters, sports games, RPGs, platformers, all of them require identity and innovation to stand out amongst the crowd, but there's one game that has done just that. Shattered Remastered Deluxe by PikPok (insert legal joke here) has taken the brick breaking sensation of games like Breakout and married it with classic concepts found in games like Tempest, sprinkled in some side-scrolling magic and physics and topped it off with some power-ups, and ultimately in the end created a $9.99 wonder that I can easily see taking the mantle of the best brick breaking game that's ever been made.

First and foremost it has to be stated that this game does provide a challenging amount of story related content, and by story related I just mean there's levels you go through then fight a boss and then you repeat it nine more times and then game over. But you just read you have boss fights? How could you have a boss fight in a brick breaking game? Well, the simple answer is, because. Honestly, there isn't much of a story at all, but what there is, is innovation. So the big innovation with Shatter Remastered Deluxe is that the 'LT' and 'RT' triggers push and pull objects, gems, power-ups and even blocks towards or away from you. Now this concept is fairly straightforward, but how you utilize the innovation mechanics will make or break your game.

I say this because the game itself sets your craft on some type of axis either vertical or horizontal, and while your craft will glide along this axis reflecting your ball(ish) projectile, it has several features. For starters, you have a shield to protect your craft from being knocked off axis. Now you are thinking, 'why a shield?'. Well when you use suction to draw gems into be collected, there's a great chance that you will have some blocks that will come along for the ride. If they hit you and knock you off your axis, then it's one life down. Now to generate your shield it requires energy, and this is where the gems fall into place. Breaking blocks will create multi-colored gems that will remain on the level for a little while, and when you manage to draw a bunch in, your energy bar will charge up, and this is where you can activate your shield. Each block that it hits will be destroyed but you'll lose energy in the process. It is a small price to pay to save a life though.

The energy meter however is not just for your craft's shield. The energy meter also provides you with a massive multi-streamed projectile laser blast that lasts several seconds, and drains the meter completely down (already knowing that this is the primary weapon for taking down most boss fights). The toss up though to this weapon is that not only can you only use it sparingly, it takes a while to collect all the gems to fill the meter, so if you happen to use it the level before the boss fight and you can't replenish it in time, well... you get the idea.

I keep talking about the bosses though because that is where the innovation really takes hold. Some bosses require you to use suction and pull the weak spot of a boss downward into a position where it faces you and forces you to attack it. You don't really see boss fights where you get to control the boss's weak point exposure through manipulation of the environment, let alone in a brick breaking game.

The other tool at your disposal throughout the levels is the ball itself. Through various power-ups that appear after breaking certain bricks will transform your ball into various forms such as an unstoppable form where your ball enlarges slightly and will travel in a straight line, uninterrupted. One of my personal favorites though is the highly maneuverable form where you can quite literally hold down 'RT' and keep sending the ball down the level destroying tons in its path.

Now earlier I mentioned that this game put your vehicle on an axis that was either horizontal or vertical. In Shattered Remastered Deluxe though it seems that PikPok has tapped partially into an old classic game, Tempest, for its inspiration. So rather than those type of axis to move on, some levels will actually have you in a quarter circle. While the same rules and mechanics apply, you now have to be extra careful of your position within the circle arena. These were my least favorite levels, by a mile, because of the mechanics of thinking within a circle rather than square or rectangle.

As you play through the story mode you'll unlock other modes for you to enjoy but are completely self-explanatory. Endless Mode, Boss Rush and Time Attack are all exactly as you would think, but what was a massive ding in my eyes, is the Couch Co-Op. In today's interconnected society, how often are you going to call your friend up and say "Hey would you like to come over and play some couch co-op on Shattered Remastered Deluxe?". Having the ability to connect online is critical in today's gaming world, and omitting that very feature is a risk that only pays off if you're developing a single player game. All in all however, you're going to be going through over 70 levels throughout all the game modes and in 4K 120FPS quality, so to say this game is smooth is an understatement, and the remastered soundtrack makes it sing on a 5.1 system or a quality headset.

While you may be thinking that this game originally came out in 2009 and how could a game that is over 10 years old possibly be worth $9.99? With the amount of content provided and the increased audio and video fidelity upgrades, Shattered Remastered Deluxe will provide you with some of the best quality brick breaking action you will ever play. Challenging, rewarding and always entertaining, PikPok did a fantastic job remastering this game and it's definitely one that should be strongly considered given the quality for the price.

**Shatter Remastered Deluxe was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 7.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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