Reviewed: October 18, 2007
Released: August 2, 2007
Ricochet Infinity is a very accurately titled Arkanoid-style game with a singularly simple premise: you shoot balls across the screen and they ricochet, pinball-style off of various things on the screen. You must try to collect rings on the screen and destroy every obstruction that gets in the ballís way. Itís a simple game and one that has been done many, many times. However, Ricochet Infinity has some new and fun tricks up its sleeve that sets it apart from the rest.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Ricochet Infinity is how much the developers have done with so little. Players control a spaceship that can only move left and right along the bottom of the screen, as they attempt to juggle a ball that is ricocheting off of the sides of the screen and various objects in its way, while trying to collect strategically placed rings throughout the level.
There are a few new twists to the old Breakout formula, most importantly the ability to recall the ball back to the ship. This often is a vital part to the overall strategy to collecting rings instead of randomly juggling the ball and hoping itíll hit its goal. Ricochet Infinity also boasts a wide variety of power ups and effects that mix things up a bit, such as the spaceship gaining the ability to destroy some of the obstructions on the screen by shooting lasers into them, speeding up or slowing down the movement of the ball, or the ability of the ball to shoot lasers or fireballs.
Throw in over a thousand different levels (literally) of clever layouts and the game quickly becomes a good example of how variety isnít necessarily synonymous with gameplay complexity. Objects on screen morph and change, slide and move around the screen, drop power-ups as players attempt to keep the ball (or balls as sometimes the case may be) from falling off the screen. All in all, itís some good old fashioned, addictive, and occasionally frustrating fun.
One of the undeniably satisfying features of Ricochet Infinity is the ability to create your own levels as well as play through other player-designed levels. There are hundreds and hundreds of these levels, obviously varying in degrees of difficulty and sophistication, but easy enough to sift through. Each one is tagged for certain categories as well as with ratings from other players, making it easy to play what appeals you personally. Cool, huh?
Letís be honest: nobody plays Arkanoid clones for the visual feast, and Ricochet Infinity isnít exactly the sleekest looking game to come out in recent memory. While the graphics do look behind the times by a few years, what the game lacks in state of the art graphics, it makes up for in style.
Since Ricochet Infinity has such simple, fairly repetitive gameplay, itís quite important that the level styles are varied and interesting enough to keep gamers playing. Ricochet Infinity does thankfully deliver, even if some of the levels are far more obnoxious than they are fun, complete with poor design layouts, non-stop beeping and clanking noises and a frustrating lack of control over your ball. Mostly however, itís no real trouble to take the good with the bad, especially since the good designs are far more plentiful than the bad ones.
Level designs range from simple and sparse space templates to loud, colorful, intricate and pulsating worlds, where the placement of a single block can drastically affect the difficulty. Since there are a plethora of user made designs available to play through as well, sometimes you find something really cool and sometimes, well, to put it gently, you find levels that arenít so cool. To be fair however, designing your own levels ainít exactly easy. Besides, each level is categorized with tags such as ďcolorfulĒ and ďkidsĒ to indicate the type of level that gamers are in for, a simple system that makes looking for the type of level you want to play an easy task.
The best part of Ricochet Infinityís overall look however, is the never-ending circus of special effects. From shooting lights all over the screen, to the spectacle of attempting to juggle a countless number of balls, to balls spinning like pinwheels spewing forth lasers like fireworks on the Fourth of July as they go, there are plenty of things happening on the screen at any given time. Variety is the name of the game in Ricochet Infinityís design and style. Despite the dated quality of the graphics, this game never stops being fun to look at.
As far as I can tell, Ricochet Infinity has one song gracing its soundtrack-or, perhaps every repetitive techno song on the soundtrack sounds so remarkably alike, that itís impossible to tell them apart, let alone get the tune out of your head for the next week. Itís not that the song(s?) is bad; I actually happen to be a fan of such repetitive techno music. However, I do like a bit of variety and listening to the same sound over and over again can become grating rather fast, regardless of the type of music in question.
Thankfully, level creators are given the luxury of using their own background music with their custom levels, so if you need a break from the obnoxiously catchy song that doesnít end (or change) in the regular gameplay, you have options. The rest of the game sounds are made up of the usual dings, bleeps, clanks and crashes that one would expect to come from a game that consists of ricocheting balls off of things and smashing bricks.
The amount of levels, unlockables, power ups and visual designs in Ricohet Infinity is staggering. If you end up finding this game addictive, then good luck! It doesnít end. Coupled with the ability to design levels and playing through other gamer designed levels, I think itís safe to say that Ricochet Infinity lives up to its name and gives customers their moneyís worth. If youíre looking for replayability, then look no further. This game is pretty much infinite in this area. However, if endless brick smashing and ring collecting isnít really your bag, be aware that thereís really nothing else to this game.
Ricochet Infinity is a refreshing new spin on an old premise. Creatively made with its players in mind, itís plain to see why the game has gathered such a good-sized community in a relatively short period of time. Ricochet Infinity is a fun, potentially addictive game that aims to please its old-school fan base, and largely succeeds.