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Ark: Acky's XP Breakout [by Isotope 244 Graphics]

Game Review: Acky's XP Breakout
Release: June 4, 2004
Genre: Arkanoid
Developer: Isotope 244 Graphics
System Requirements: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
Players: 1
Price: $16.95
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At first look at the screenshots of Acky's XP Breakout I immediately thought it looked like Electrobalz. My guess is that I'm probably one of only a few people in the world who made that connection, which probably means I've played way too many arkanoid games. However, the reality is that this is a good thing for you because Electrobalz was one of the best arkanoid games around when it came out nearly 5 years ago. This pseudo sequel catches a lot of the great feel to that game while expanding upon the concept, while expanding the game play with bonuses that don't interfere with the base game play.

This as well is a good thing for while Acky's probably could use a new name it doesn't need improvements to the game play. The original Electrobalz had a knack for capturing the feel of the original Breakout from years ago. This was really done in two different ways. The first is by focusing on making the levels built in such a way that working to get the ball up on top of the wall of bricks is not only a smart thing to do, but an entertaining challenge. The second piece that leads to that feel is by decreasing the focus on power-ups.

There are many power-ups in the game to be sure. Those looking for guns to blow away those pesky bricks instead of having to hit them will find 3 different types of guns in the game. You save up gems in three different colors during the boards and then if you happen to get a gun on the board then you can use it as long as you have gems. The real key here is that guns are few and far between. The same thing really could be said for the other bonuses in the game. While there are balls that pass-through the bricks and a couple of other really cool power-ups most of these are fairly sparsely available throughout the game.

The bonuses also provide the coolest feature of the game in what is called XP Mode. XP Mode speeds up the background