Brickies (Free) by Noodlecake Studios Inc and Ink Vial Games is a fast-paced brick-breaker game that has you racing against the clock. It’s a refreshing twist on the classic genre, and if you have been wanting a brick breaker game with an extra challenge, then Brickies fits the bill nicely. It joins other similar titles like Anodia 2 and ZenDots.
While brick breaking games are a classic and I’ve gone through my fair share of them, they were never one of my favorites because the gameplay got a bit boring and repetitive after a while. Still, I like to pick up these games every now and then to pass the time, as I’m sure most people do nowadays. When I heard that Noodlecake Studios was releasing another collaborative game, I was pretty excited, even more so when I heard that it was a brick breaker with a time limit. I mean, you don’t get too many of those, right? Now that it’s out, I’ve spent some time with it and think that the concept is great, but the execution could be improved.
The visuals in Brickies is simple and clean, featuring a flat aesthetic that people will either love or hate. For the record, I enjoy the flat design trend that has become popular ever since iOS 7. Brickies features a soft colored background that contrasts nicely with the vibrant colors of the bricks (aka Brickies) themselves, and the animations are smooth and fluid. The soundtrack for the game is tranquil and calming, which helps players focus on the game, and the charming sound effects are a nice touch.
There are two game modes in Brickies: Play and Endless. The standard Play mode is based on levels, where you have to clear the current one to move on to the next, and you can earn up to three stars depending on how many points you manage to rack up. Endless will fill up the screen with more Brickies as you clear them out, so it’s more of a high score chaser mode. Regardless of which one you choose to play, the unique thing about Brickies is the fact that there is a timer in the background — you only have so much time to clear out all of the bricks. If you run out of time, then you failed the level but can try again, or watch a video to get a new attempt with some extra time.
The controls in the game are simple and just as you’d expect from a brick breaker: the bottom of the screen has a space for you to slide your thumb left and right to move the paddle. On top of the standard paddle at the bottom, there is another paddle at the top of the screen that moves in sync with the bottom, so you can use it to further control the ball’s trajectory. There are power-ups that you can unlock as you progress, and they will show up randomly on levels — hitting them with the ball will activate the power for a brief amount of time.
While I love what Brickies offers, there are some flaws that I noticed during my time playing the game. First, if you miss the ball, then it turns red and won’t be able to break the Brickies until it bounces off enough times or you hit it and it turns green again. This wastes time and can be rather annoying. Another thing is the fact that the ball moves slower as the timer goes into the red, further slowing you down. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be a “feature,” but it makes the game frustrating to play as you are punished for running low on time. The ball should move at the normal pace rather than get slowed down in the last few seconds in my opinion. It also feels like you are forced to use the power-ups to clear a level, because otherwise it seems impossible, especially given the two issues I already mentioned. On top of that, while I like the visual style of the game, I found the bursting bricks and bubble trail of the green ball to be a bit distracting, making it hard to follow the ball at times. I like the overall concept of Brickies, but I can’t help but feel that the gameplay could be better if these issues were fixed.
There also seems to be a glitch with Endless Mode. I played a round of it, and once I ran out of time, I was unable to return to the main menu screen or try again. It just got stuck, and the only way to fix this was to close the app and launch it again. Hopefully the developers can get this ironed out in an update.
I had been playing Brickies a bit over the extended weekend, and while I love the idea, it needs more polish before I can fully recommend it. The visuals are gorgeous and the gameplay is fun, but the ball needs to have a consistent speed throughout the game, and missing a hit really slows things down. The game also has high spikes of difficulty, so you have to use the power-ups or fail. Plus, the frustrating glitch with Endless needs to be fixed right away.
I’ll still play this every now and then, but I hope to see improvements made sooner rather than later. You can find Brickies on the App Store as a universal download for free.