With a heavy focus on electronic music, score building and non-stop gameplay, Shatter may represent old-school classics at its core, but plays unlike anything. It's a classic example of the perfect face-lift.
Shatter costs just £4.79 ($7.99) from the Playstation Network and will take about 2 hours to play through. The scoreboards element adds a huge amount of replay value though.
One of the best things about Shatter is its emphasis on uninterrupted gameplay. The game doesn't stop and regather itself when you lose a ball. You're still in the game. The transition between levels is seamless. The music score is one massive mix that moves between moods when necessary. Despite a short loading period when the game starts, you're constantly in the game from that moment. And that's awesome. It's nice to return to roots once in a while and not play a game bogged down with menus and loading screens.
Shatter's music score will probably go on to become one of the best this year. The game features a 90-minute long mix of eclectic electronica complimented by trance-like gated synths and guitar harmony's. Before we delve too far into a music writer mode, let us say it's a great, great soundtrack, and one you'll probably want to buy after you're done with the game.
Clearly inspired by the likes of Space Invaders Extreme, Geometry Wars and PixelJunk; Shatter is a beautiful mix of clean futuristic visuals and and retro inspired simplicity. The game may be simple in concept, but the graphics are truly a sight to behold. Running in beautiful HD at 60FPS everything looks clean, smooth and frantic; just like it should.
Shatter mixes up the classic gameplay of Arkanoid by implementing a "suck-and-blow" (stop sniggering - ed) mechanic. This allows you to control the flow of the ball by pressing the L1 and R1 buttons. The mechanic effects more than the ball however - sucking will pull loose blocks towards your paddle making you inactive and unable to return the ball. Risk and reward is always awesome.
In order to ensure Shatter is not only great fun but also epic, Shatter throws a number of bosses in your way. These things aren't just deadly, but they're also great fun. They fill the screen and are a real challenge to defeat. Some require more than just hitting with the ball too, you'll need to tweak their armour with the suck mechanic for example.
Despite being a bit weak on the leaderboard options, Shatter is exactly the type of game you'll want to compete with your friends against to see who can get the highest score. We would have liked to have seen more community options built into the game's HUD etc ("You just beat PushSquare's high score" - for example) but, that's us nit picking really.
It would have been cool if Sidhe could have come up with a way of making Shatter work in a multiplayer perspective. Perhaps a simultaneous score mode or something. We don't know. We're not game developers. We just know when people see you playing Shatter, they won't just want to watch - they'll want to jump in.
Shatter is very generous on the extra lives and while this makes the experience a less frustrating one, it means that unfortunately Shatter is over all too soon. While not a big issue because the game perfectly lends itself to multiple playthroughs, we wish Shatter had been a bit more of a challenge in the later levels.
Shatter is an audio-visual delight compounded by frantic gameplay and clever mechanical twists on an aging concept. Shatter is the PSN's shining beacon in the growing "New Arcade" market.