Break Limit Review

jmaltz@pnosker.com December 5, 2010 0

Break Limit is a game that attempts to break conventions. Released as part of the Indie Games Uprising, the first game out of Zombie Monkey Studios is a shoot em up that attempts to bring a sense of speed into the sometimes slow genre.  Although it doesn’t exactly succeed at redlining the speedometer, Break Limit does provide some solid, tough, fun, for players who pick it up.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Limit Break is that it eschews many of the traditional 2D shoot em ups elements.  For one, you will never get shot at during the game’s two levels; in fact, the only somewhat sentient enemy you will face is the occasional robotic flying bug.  However, just because you aren’t getting shot at does not mean that you won’t have any obstacles, quite the opposite is true.  Instead, everything you touch with, the exception of score boosting medals and coins can harm you.

The lack of sentient enemies doesn’t become much of a problem because you are never just flying through a stationary maze.  Instead, your efforts to complete the game will take you through spinning structures, jaw-like creations that squeeze you in between their two levels, and the occasional horizontal maze that moves up and down.  Add to these levels a heavy dose of destructible asteroids and you have some tough yet rewarding level design.
 
Part of the reason Break Limit never grates in spite of its difficulty is the tight controls.  Controlling your ship is done with the left thumbstick, while you can fire your weapons in a 160-degree arc by moving the right thumbstick in the desired direction.  The precision firing is very important because just as everything can hurt you, everything can be destroyed, a fact that allows you to create a path for yourself through otherwise non-navigable areas.

Should an area completely overwhelm you, there is also the option using the titular Break Limit.  By pressing and holding the left trigger, your ship will go hurtling through barriers with an obscene amount of speed.  However, this ability isn’t infinite and therefore you must employ a decent amount of strategy in deploying the power.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMY9EfLEMlE

If you do meet your unfortunate demise, Break Limit will restart you at the beginning of the level.  This is never much of an issue because the levels are short enough that playing through them is never a hassle.  Additionally, there are a number of different paths to explore in each stage, each with its own difficulty and rewards, a feature that gives each playthrough additional variety. However, simplest addition that blunts the pain of failure is the automatic upgrades to your ship.  Every time you play level, points are added to your total scores regardless of whether you succeed or fail.  Your ship becomes stronger at each new level, slowly making the game a touch easier if you are overwhelmed by it.
 
In total, Break Limit is a solid indie title.  It doesn’t break new ground in any technical departments, although its retro graphics and music should be a hit with older gamers.  Similarly, it doesn’t quite deliver on its promise of constant high-speed action.  What it does deliver  is a couple good, tough, and fun levels that more than make up for any shortcomings elsewhere.  This makes Break Limit well worth the 80 MSP price tag for most all gamers.

[Break Limit]-80 MSP

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