Arkanoid Eternal Battle is the rediscovered block-breaker game from the 1980s with a new look and new modes. Developed by Pastagames and published by Microids, they have taken the classic to a new level.
For those unfamiliar with the title, when the mothership Arkanoid comes under attack, a small spacecraft Vaus manages to escape but ends up warped into another dimension, stuck in a maze. Vaus must use its energy balls to destroy blocks called spacewalls in order to defeat Doh, the creator of the maze and the one responsible for Arkanoid’s destruction.
There are a few modes available to play. Eternal Battle is your all against all battle royale with 25 players. Versus mode enables 2 to 4 player local play. Retro mode is the old-school original from 1986. Finally, there is Neo, the next chapter of the Arkanoid journey with new levels on your path to defeat Doh.
You have unlimited continues in both Retro and Neo, so as long as you can beat each level within 3 lives you can still progress through the game. However, you will need complete the game in one sitting, which I found out the hard way. After completing 10 levels I thought, “Awesome, I’ll finish that up another day”, only to find that I lost all my progress… very annoying!
The game’s promotion has been centred around the Battle Royale mode, where all players play a random stage against the clock simultaneously. You earn points for clearing blocks and lose points for any blocks remaining when the time runs out. If you lose one of your energy balls, 10% of your overall score is removed which often results in you dropping a couple places. Every 20 seconds, the player with the lowest score will be eliminated. Once down to the final four, a more intense version of the boss battle breaks out with all four of you taking on Doh. You can see the ghosts of your opponents on screen, but it remains about earning the highest score with last place being eliminated until there is an ultimate winner.
Power-ups will randomly drop during all modes of the game. These can vary from splitting your energy ball into three, equipping a laser or a free life. Once you lose your energy ball, thereby losing a life, your power-up will also disappear. In addition to the standard power-ups, in Battle Royale mode you can get power-ups that allow you to hinder either the opponent in front of or behind you, depending on whether you want to catch up or pull ahead. I found using power-ups on the person behind you much more effective.
The gameplay is good, however, from my experience it seems that no-one is really playing it. Despite using cross play – which I give them props for including – I only came across maybe two other players and the rest of the time it was just AI. This isn’t satisfying for the very steep price point of £25. The AI are pretty strong. I only managed to get to the final four once (by luck) and I got instantly KO’d. The rest of the time I was a solid top 10 but found that the ball would sometimes just ramp up and move so fast that it was impossible to hit, making me lose my point scoring rhythm. I do wish you could tone down the AI difficulty as it would be nice to see the endgame a bit more frequently… either that or just “git gud, scrub”. And it’s not a problem that you’d have if there were more real people playing online!
Arkanoid Eternal Battle is fun for a while but can get frustrating very quickly. With no option to save your progress, this hampers my score. I wish there was an option for an offline/easy mode, a bit like Tetris 99 has, but otherwise it’s a solid title if you loved the original. I would, however, recommend waiting for a sale.Become a Patron!
This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.