Review: Breakout: Recharged Is a Reimagining of an Essential Classic

Screenshot: Breakout Recharged You might not know it, but Breakout is a pretty big deal. Originally created by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell along with Steve Wozniak (yeah, that Steve Wozniak) and Steve Bristow, Breakout was iconic. In fact, there have been countless variations of the Breakout formula, with some even adding role-playing game elements or platforming elements. But Breakout: Recharged is more of a return to classic arcade Breakout, with a few modern twists. Breakout: Recharged is a reimagining of the classic arcade Breakout. Like many such reimaginings before it, Breakout: Recharged takes the classic Breakout formula and adds a few twists, power-ups, and in the case of Recharged: lots of neon visuals.  Not only are there power-ups to collect, but blocks fight back now, with some blocks shooting bullets at you when you hit them, and others expanding out to create more blocks. Screenshot: Breakout Recharged While I have a paddle for my Atari 2600, I don’t have one for my computer, so I ended up playing mostly with the mouse as my paddle. The mouse probably feels the closest to using a paddle controller, but since it advertises full controller support on the steam story page, I wanted to test out an Xbox One controller--the same controller I use to test controller functionality on other PC games—and while it worked great in the menu, I couldn’t actually play the game with it. It’s true that the mouse is probably the superior control method, but it’s a bummer I couldn’t get it to work. There are a lot of ways to play Breakout: Recharged—and they’re all playable in co-op mode, which I love. There is an arcade mode, which challenges you to get a high score while breaking blocks and collecting power-ups—this is the basic Breakout experience. You can also play it in Recharged mode, which means one mistake and it’s game over—or you can play it in Classic or Classic Recharged modes, that give you three lives in each, just without and with power-ups—respectively. Screenshot: Breakout Recharged Breakout: Recharged is at its best in its challenge modes. There are 50 different challenges to play through, each with a twist to overcome. While I enjoy the arcade mode of Breakout: Recharged, the challenge mode really forces you to think differently, break blocks strategically, and use power-ups wisely. I’ve played a lot of Breakout style games, and Breakout: Recharged ends up having a good range of power-ups to choose from. There are 11 power-ups in total, with the usual power-ups like ball duplication, a power-up that increases paddle size and a power-up that slows down the action. But there are some interesting ones I’ve never encountered, like a power-up that shows the trajectory of the ball, and bullets that orbit the ball to do extra damage and protect it from veering off course. Screenshot: Breakout Recharged I’ve been enjoying these latest Atari releases, and I think Breakout: Recharged has been the best of the bunch. Still, it’s hard to recommend Breakout: Recharged as a modern game, because there are so many Breakout and Arkanoid clones that you can play for free in your browser right now. There’s little that makes Breakout: Recharged stand apart from the rest of the playing field, but it is a solid Breakout game.   Breakout: Recharged is available now for PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store and on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.         A Steam key was provided to us for the purposes of this review.
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Antal Bokor

Antal is video game advocate, retro game collector, and video game historian. He is also a small streamer, occasional podcast guest, and writer.