Turn on the Light Byte

Jun 25, 2012
Games

Breakout, or block-breaker, or whatever you want to call it – basically, the game where you play ping-pong with a brick wall that you slowly smash to bits – is an idea badly in need of refreshing. The gaggle of iPhone apps that brought back the classic game are at their best “fine” in that […]

Breakout, or block-breaker, or whatever you want to call it – basically, the game where you play ping-pong with a brick wall that you slowly smash to bits – is an idea badly in need of refreshing. The gaggle of iPhone apps that brought back the classic game are at their best “fine” in that they recreate the experience of playing the old console titles about as well as you can do on an iPhone. But that doesn’t exactly make any of them worth seeking out. Light Byte might just be the answer to the malaise that this puzzle sub-genre badly needs.

Light Byte takes the colored blocks, the brick wall, and creates a purpose for their rainbow shades. Now, players have to hit colors in succession in order to clear the blocks. As an added bonus, if the player hits a single-color eight times in a row, they enter into a limited time free-shot mode where they can clear all blocks with reckless abandon. Thankfully, the player has a little bit more control over where they’re firing shots than they would in a classic pong-styled brick-breaker game. But that extra control creates a great deal of strategy, as you have to look ahead at the board to plan the best path to accrue more bonus round opportunities.

Once you arrive at the later rounds, Light Byte becomes a furious rally of shooting blocks as quickly as you can to stay alive while you desperately try to chain a single color together long enough to grab that bonus. It is a revelation for this sort of game. If there is a downside, it’s that it’s pretty difficult to create many variations on the game. There are two default modes in Light Byte, one is an endless mode and the other is timed to see how many points you can get in a specific time limit. A third mode, called Full Byte, can only be unlocked after putting an extremely significant amount of time into the endless mode. Suffice to say it’s not all that different from the first two game modes, though.

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In this particular case, that’s not really a problem. Light Byte isn’t the sort of game that does a bunch of different things “okay.” Instead, it does one thing extremely well and turns a well-worn game into a very fun experience that you’ll find yourself coming back to frequently.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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