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August 25, 2009
Shatter - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Shatter is a brilliant PSN title.
If you were a gamer in the 1970's and 1980's then you would most likely be familiar with the brick breaking titles including Breakout and Arkanoid. Both brilliant, and groundbreaking title released during the videogame boom. Even if you're not familiar with those games in particular you should at least be familiar with the genre.

The genre gives you a movable paddle which bounces one or more balls back and forth to a series of breakable bricks until they are all gone. While it may not sound like you could really push the genre much further then what we saw in the 1980's, but Sidhe Interactive have managed to do just that with this game, Shatter and the results are quite spectacular, and certainly an improvement on the very similar, but somewhat average, Magic Ball which appeared on PSN at the start of this year.

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One of the rounded levels in Shatter.
There's no storyline in this game, but there are three game modes. The first is the 'story' mode which has about as much story as, well, Pac-Man. This mode gives you 10 levels which are split up into smaller waves of blocks with a boss battle at the end of each level. These boss battles are fantastic too with each having a different attack pattern. The levels themselves aren't just horizontal, but also curved shaped which throws in a few extra challenges.

But how is this different from other Breakout styled games. Well the big change is the ability to suck or blow air which can curve the balls, or loose blocks, to your advantage. As the ball breaks the blocks shards break off which can then be sucked into your paddle and when enough are collected you can then hit triangle to fire off a shard storm which acts like a machine gun destroying multiple blocks. The game is also generous with collectable power ups which provide extra lives, ball maneuverability, extra shards, or extra power. All these changes to the gameplay lift Shatter above another clone, and into a new league of its own.

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Firing off the Shard Storm.
Beyond the story mode the game includes two other modes. The first is a Boss Rush Mode which sees you taking on one boss after another with the quickest time recorded to defeat all the bosses. Unlocking the trophy to complete this challenge under the required time limit of 10 minutes will require quite an effort - indeed according to the developers only 60 people had unlocked this trophy after the first week of the games release and its fair to say that this mode is much harder then completing the main game.

The third and final game mode is the Bonus Mode which sees three ball in the screen needing to be kept in play as they get faster and faster. The three levels contain 3 balls each, and earning a decent score will also take some effort.

The good news is that all of these modes are included in online leader boards with overall scores for Story, Boss and Bonus modes, and even scoring on the ten individual levels. It's also possible to search for your friends in these leader boards, view the top scores, and your own. For only $AU9.95 (or $7.95 in America) this is one of the best valued games on the market with great production values, and plenty of replayability.

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Boss encounters in Shatter are brilliant.
It would be amiss to fail pointing out one shortcoming of this game - the lack of multi-player, both offline and online. I can see that it may have been hard implementing such a feature, but it would have been nice to have two players in a single level, or perhaps a split-screen battle styled mode. Still one can only hope that Sidhe Interactive will release an add-on somewhere down the track to explore such an option. The game is also pretty short, although like all good games you'll keep coming back to beat your high scores.

Shatter really is an impressive game visually. The game runs in 720p resolution at 60fps, but thanks to the 4xAA it looks silky smooth and runs like a dream on the PS3 with hundreds of objects and shards on screen at once. While the menu interface looks a little plain, this is certainly one of the better looking downloadable games on the PSN, and certainly doesn't look budget.

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Collecting the power-ups in Shatter.
I have to say that I absolutely loved the audio in this game. Admittedly it is only presented in 2 channels without any surround sound, but given the style of game do you really need surround sound? If you say yes, then you're probably missing the point of 5.1 channels anyway. What we do have here is one of the most pumping techno electronic soundtracks since the original Wipeout on PSOne. There isn't licensed music here, but the music is quite superb, and is even available for sale as a separate item too!

As you have probably realised we here at love Shatter. It's such a cheap title, with such great visuals and gameplay that it simply can't be ignored. The easiest way to sum up this game is simply with "Shatter is to Breakout as Wipeout is to racing games". It's a gorgeous, heart-pumping update to a classic game and genre. Make sure you add this to you collection now.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy through the PS3's Playstation Store.
GRAPHICSShatter is a gorgeous looking game and it runs silky smooth.
SOUNDA great upbeat dance styled backing track and solid effects.
GAMEPLAYThis is Breakout on steriods. Shame there's no multiplayer though.
VALUESadly there's no multi-player, but great value for $9.95.
OVERALLShatter is not only one of the best games on PSN, but also one of the cheapest. If you don't pick up this title then you're missing out on something quite special indeed.

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