brg Review—That’s Short for Blue Red Green

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brg from Kay Hermann is a stylish and innovative take on the Breakout genre, the very old game where you control a paddle and must bounce a ball back and forth against some bricks, destroying them in the process. We’ve seen some other attempts at innovating the genre, such as Wizorb, which added RPG elements, and BreakQuest: Extra Evolution, which added very slick graphics, complex physics, and tons of levels. While brg has stylish graphics, it’s really the gameplay that sets it apart.

You have to serve the ball, by touching the center.

You have to serve the ball, by touching the center.

Instead of a group of bricks at the top of the screen as in most Breakout-style games, in brg, the bricks (which are really triangles) are in the center of the screen, contained by a circular wall, with the paddle sort of rotating about the circle. It really doesn’t rotate, simply going where you touch the screen, though apparently it can only appear in a fairly close orbit to the central circle.

You can have three different balls in play at once, each of a different color: blue, red, and green—which also presumably explains the name of the game. The color of the balls (and the bricks) plays a role, as certain colors are attracted to each other. It’s actually pretty deep, as it requires several screens to explain everything (which is probably then forgotten).

A yellow line shows the trajectory of the balls.

A yellow line shows the trajectory of the balls.

Although basically a Breakout clone with one level, and no elaborate layout like in Wizorb or BreakQuest, brg offers a ton of options. Different difficulty levels, and you can adjust the properties of the balls and paddle.

The game has something of a psychedelic look to it which I liked (being the proud owner of several lava lamps). At first, it took me a moment to notice it, but the background is a zoomed-in version of the playing field. On the other hand, the graphics that matter are very tiny and hard for this middle-aged person to see when played on a Vita. Sound is not so mixed, though; it has catchy music and a number of nice speech samples which give it a bit of class.

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I wanted to like brg, but the controls are a hassle, and the ball on the screen is just hard to see. There’s also just so little room on the screen that my thumb kept getting in the way. There’s a reason that in Breakout the bricks were on one side of the screen and the paddle on the other. It maximizes the distance between the two, letting the player react much better as well as see things, and that was before touch controls. Not only that, but much of the sides of the screen is a dead area, so your playing field is about 3/4 of an inch (call it a centimeter and a half metric, I guess).

Still, brg has quite a bit of polish to it, so the developer obviously put a lot of effort into it which I appreciate, and I imagine if you are playing it on a tablet, especially a large one, it plays much better.

6/10

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