Day 175: Break Limit

Posted: 2011/05/03 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #175, and today’s game is “Break Limit”.

Break Limit was part of The Indie Games Winter Uprising, a developer-driven promotion for the XBLIG channel. It is one of the few I have left to review, as most of them made my short list to check out and all that I’ve tried so far have equaled or exceeded my expectations. Break Limit takes the high speed maze-based shoot-’em-up gameplay I enjoyed so much in Hypership Out Of Control and takes it in a somewhat different direction.

First, from the developer (Zombie Monkey Games):

“Prepare to go mind-numbingly fast as you Blast, Smash and Break Limit through every one and thing in your way! Powerful weapons that get stronger as you play, will help to power a ship that becomes an invincible wrecking ball while accelerating. Alpha Centauri will never be the same! Featuring online scoreboards for Gold subscribers, and local scoreboards to prove you’re better than your siblings!”

One of the most unique elements of Break Limit is the ability to build up your break meter which, when activated, allows you to blast through asteroids and destructible blocks, tremendously useful when your maze pathfinding fails you and you’re rushing headlong into an obstacle. However, activating your break limit power also accelerates you hugely, a great risk/reward system that can be exhilarating at times. Another element of the risk/reward system the game employs is that the safest routes through a level aren’t always the fastest way to build up your break meter.

The game enhances replay value by giving you multiple possible paths through each level, giving you a reason to go back to it and explore. Also, every playthrough the game (win or lose) adds points towards your total, and every new level brings automatic ship upgrades.

Not a true dual-stick shooter, this shmup has you moving with the left stick and firing in a 160 degree arc with the right stick (rather than the 360 degrees of a normal twin-stick shooter). I haven’t been shot back at yet, enemies take a cue from the maze and simply try to get in your way as contact with the maze or an object means instant death (except for the aforementioned exception when your break limit power is engaged). The mazes themselves make this as hard as they can, with tight level design (often literally when passages and enemies force you into smaller and smaller areas, with even a few jaw like structures and asteroids that collapse in towards the centre of the screen in a pincer movement forcing you to fly like the wind to stay ahead of it all). Everything is destroyable, but you’re not always given all the time in the world to shoot at is so Break Limit should really be viewed as a high speed avoid-’em-up at its heart. For only 80 Microsoft Points, this is worth looking at when you’ve eked every bit of play value out of Hypership you can.

Click here to download “Break Limit”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.



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Comments
  1. I didn’t expect to like this, but decided to give it a try. As it turned out, I really enjoyed it. Easy purchase.

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