Voxel Baller Review
Breakout, Arkanoid, and even Wizorb have had the brick-breaking genre down for years now, but there’s a new game in town with MKD games’ Voxel Baller. Things might be in 3D now, but does this time-tested gameplay make the jump well?
Voxel Baller Review
It might not seem like it, but there is a story to be found in Voxel Baller. Things are quiet until a monster appears. Said monster causes an earthquake, creating a magnetic force that snatches up a number of building blocks. It’s up to the player to take control of a new machine to destroy the building blocks. In all honesty, the story was not necessary – and the generic characters and lifeless environments do not add to the worldbuilding.
Each of the 50 stages plays out the same. Players must break every block with a ball, all while controlling a paddle at the bottom of the screen. This type of gameplay has been on the scene for decades now, and is simple in its design. It all comes down to the angle of each bounce, and racking up combos for hitting multiple blocks at a time without hitting the paddle again. The core gameplay mechanics are sound enough, but questionable design choices like slowing things down at certain spots feels unnecessary.
To spice things up, there are a number of abilities and power-ups that the player can utilize. Every character has a special ability that can be used, complete with a rechargeable meter. One character may have a fireball move, while another can utilize a bat. It’s a nice addition, but the long cooldown each character has makes it not feasible for repeat use. Rather, it comes across as more of a novelty than a game-changer.
The same goes for the power-ups players can receive from dropped blocks. The all-important extra life is there, but players can also blast through blocks easily with the fireball power-up or do their next shot at max power. There are some questionable power-ups too, like one that forces you to hit each block an additional time. Regardless, these power-ups do add to the game.
It’s just a shame that everything comes across as generic. Sure, there are hazards like cars and enemy turrets, but nothing really has any character. Even the bosses come off as generic, and the amount of time it takes to finish each one off provides relief rather than satisfaction.
It also feels like some questionable design choices were made with the game. Though there is controller support, there is no mouse support available, so scrolling is a bit slower than you’d expect. In addition, the angle the playfield is presented is isometric, which feels awkward. Though this can be somewhat adjusted, it does not feel as natural as a more traditional vertical set up. Finally, the shading in certain parts could use some work, coming off as a little too dark.
Those looking to get every last bit of enjoyment out of the game will be pleased to know that there are some unlockables in the form of an Endless Mode and additional characters. These things can be bought with currency dropped on the playfield, which works as it should.
Voxel Baller may offer a new perspective in the brick-breaking genre, but it does not do enough to stand out. The generic look, awkward play field, and lack of mouse support means that only the most diehard of fans should give this one a go.