The Bricks of X series of downloadable Indie PC-games, by Arcadelab, started with Bricks of Egypt in 2004 and was followed up with Bricks of Camelot and then Bricks of Atlantis in 2005. Iâ€™ll say straight off that these three breakout-style games are great fun and well worth buying if you like this sort of game â€“ I bought all three! Iâ€™ve completed Bricks of Egypt and Atlantis and Iâ€™m playing Camelot right now, so I feel suitably qualified to review them.
They are basically well made old school bat â€˜nâ€™ ball type games with the usual power ups/bonuses and some other interesting things, plus loads of levels. I was coding a game whilst playing Egypt and I used it as a reward for when I got some good work done. The games are good for having a quick(ish) fun go, maybe to complete an 8 or 16 level â€œpackâ€, or you can play them for longer periods if you have the time (wish I did!).
The games contain 2D pixel art, there are no 3D card effects, so they should run on most machines well. I like the art a lot actually; itâ€™s got an updated Amiga feel about it that suits the games well.
The Egypt game was the hardest because the final few level packs were a bitch to beat. I had to replay some of the 16 level packs many times before I completed them (there is no save and resume option). Also it has these eyes (of Horus no doubt), which the ball bounces off, and on some levels they really get in the way and piss you off â€“ but thatâ€™s intentional of course. Anyway, when you fail to complete a level pack, itâ€™s not so bad replying it because the game is so much fun. Egypt also has these fire squares that you have to destroy pretty quickly before they spread and invade the screen â€“ this is a neat touch and they are in the other games too in a different form. You also get teleports and switches (to show/hide certain squares), and treasures that fall down for you to collect with your bat. In fact if you are too greedy you often go for the treasure and miss the ball until you get really skilled at playing.
Atlantis was significantly easier than Egypt because it helps you out when there are only a few bricks left by firing a trident at them or making a fish appear that eats them etc. Camelot has similar things too. I think this was a good move on the designersâ€™ part because it means that you can progress without feeling punished by really hard levels. Actually the fish on Atlantis are pretty cool; some each bricks or moss (the Egypt fire equivalent), others make your ball turn into fire, and some drop pearls or coins that you can try to catch for more points. Oh yeah, and there are these jellyfish on Atlantis that move in nice patterns and take a few hits to kill but they often drop bonus items. I tried really hard in Atlantis to get the #1 score for each level pack but it was quite hard; I was #2 most of the time whereas in Egypt I was easily able to get #1 each time I completed a pack.
Egypt has 96 levels, Camelot 120 and Atlantis 120+, so plenty to keep you going. The music is fine in all the games – in fact no music plays until you get near the end of the level and then it begins to fade in louder and louder. The sound effects are totally appropriate too.
One thing I noticed was that when I tried to play Egypt with my wireless optical mouse, occasionally I would miss the ball on the harder levels when it was moving really fast. This was due to the mouse having a minor hiccup – and with 3 lives over 16 levels, you canâ€™t afford many mistakes! This really got to me in the end, so I dug out my old wired Microsoft IntelliMouse, which has ball inside it, and I was able to complete the harder Egypt level packs with it.
OK, scoresâ€¦ well overall Iâ€™ll give them 4.5 (Iâ€™m reserving 5 for something that blows my head off). If I was to rate them individually Iâ€™ve give Egypt 4 because itâ€™s too hard later on; Iâ€™d give Atlantis 4.5 because itâ€™s a really nice relaxing game, and Iâ€™d give Camelot 4.5 as well. I prefer these games to the Richochet/Rebound games to be honest, perhaps itâ€™s something about the style, and they feel more accessible to me.
P.S. Iâ€™m going to be reviewing Bricks of Egypt 2 soon, so keep an eye out for it 😉
Here’s a list of the games with links:
I'm an Indie game developer with a couple of titles under my belt. I've been programming for 23 years on a variety of platforms. Currently I'm using BlitzMax, which is great.