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    jp's Beta Bloc (PSP)

    [May 11, 2010 02:08:39 PM]
    I guess this went went by in a bit of a blur. I've already finished it and here I am trying to pick up the pieces. Sort of.

    Anyways, this is a strange game in more ways that I expected. First, I bought it in an airport (finding it on sale helped) and I had NO idea what to expect. I was intrigued since the back of the box described an Arkanoid/RPG hybrid. So, once I got back from my trip I decided to look the game up online to see if I had bought a game at least mildly interesting. Susprisingly, I couldn't really find much information. No review (or even reader review!) on IGN, not much on Gamespot either, and so on. Curiously, the Gamespot page had the original japanese picture and name: "Simple 2500 Series Portable Vol. 5: The Block Kuzushi Quest - Dragon Kingdom". Ouch. The original title made it look like shovelware. So why was it released in Europe? (apparently it never made it to the US). I always thought that most titles hit Japan or the US first with Europe always the 3rd option.

    Fortunately, the game isn't all that bad. In fact, it's quite interesting in certain ways. The story is a disaster, and the localization is a mess (grammar mistakes), but the gameplay is intriguing enough that I'm glad I played it. If you are curious about what an Arkanoid game with RPG elements could look like. Well, this is it. There are blocks, you get points but there are also monsters in the game. When a monster is hit by the ball, it dies (or loses hitpoints) and releases a glowing orb that also bounces around. Collect them to get experience points or replenish your health (you don't lose if you lose the ball!), mana (for special powers), or something else. You can also shoot the monsters. There are a multitude of levels divided in 7(?) zones which as sort of thematic.

    It gets a bit interesting when you decide where you spend your XP. You can upgrade different things and, obviously, you don't have enough points to upgrade everything. I chose to maximize the damage of the ball (later in the game some blocks require multiple hits, this helps with minimizing that), but I could have gone with more mana (so that I could use more powers). You can even upgrade the powers, of which there are about 10. I didn't use more than 4 of them because the others seemed somewhat of a waste of time. Upgrading the powers was worth it though. I may have made the smarter choice since I was able to clear most levels on my first attempt. A few levels, however, had ancillary goals that posed more of a challenge (win without losing the ball, kill X monsters before winning, and so on).

    The goals were a little confusing at times. It took me a while to figure out that to open the next zone, I had to go back to an earlier zone and in a specific stage of that zone obtain a special item. I though it was an odd choice because the navigation between zones is clunky and frustrating. If you leave one zone to enter another you lose all your saved progress if you didn't save before leaving!
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    jp's Beta Bloc (PSP)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 1 May, 2010

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 11 May, 2010

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Interesting concept, not so sure about the execution, but definitely worth looking at as an example of genre-breeding in games. This one is Arkanoid+RPG.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstar

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