Break Limit Review (XBL Indie Games)

Posted by Jim Cook, Dec 04, 2010 05:33

Some games today focus on in-depth stories and having hours upon hours of new content, yet there is still room for arcade-style score attack play and Break Limit opts to provide you with this in a few short but well developed stages. At first it looks like a scrolling shooter akin to Gradius or some of the Raiden games, but this is only partially true; Break Limit also adds time trial/racing aspects to that with its titular game mechanic that lets you smash through almost anything in your path so long as you have enough Limit meter left to do it. The end result is a game that is fast and difficult, but great for those that enjoy this sort of thing.

Break Limit has only a few stages (two in the current release, and the developer plans to add a third somewhere between Dec. 17, 2010 to Jan. 17, 2011), just a few weapons to choose from, and one ship. This doesn’t sound like much, but the stages have branching paths and are very challenging. You have energy shields that will let you survive some hits and can fire your weapon in a pretty wide arc, but you’re going to need them. Each stage is covered in asteroids that fragment into smaller ones, moving walls that try to crush you, and enemies that are very aggressive in hunting you down. Your shield and guns can only deal with so much of this, so your real goal is to pick up orbs that provide more Limit meter and that’s when things really get fun.

The ’Break Limit’ mechanic turns your ship invincible to pretty much everything you come across, for as long as you have the meter to use it. If there is an obstacle too big to steer around, just Break through it! This can be done with enemies too, but the best part is you can go through walls. Your age-old enemy in the scrolling shooter genre can now be plowed through like it was nothing, and this is not only satisfying but a good idea in general since making a smart path through walls will reveal both more power-ups and prevent you from getting killed. Good use of your Break meter will let you find better routes to a higher score and a faster completion time, both of which you’re rated on when you finish the stage.

While there are only a few levels, each one has branching paths. It’s up to you to figure out which ones offer the best rewards and are easiest for you to complete quickly, offering some replay value to this game. It’s definitely short, but the challenge lies in mastering it and competing with others to see who really has the best reflexes, planning, and knowledge of the level. You’ll need all of those, since even the first stage is a reasonable challenge and the second one is hard even on its lowest difficulty!

Break Limit is a very hard game, but it does this on purpose. Players are supposed to get a little bit better each time they play and measure their progress against each other through the online leaderboards, making it very much like an arcade-style high score competition. It’s short, but the low price ($1 USD/80 Microsoft Points) justifies that, and anyone who enjoys this type of game will be well served by Break Limit. 

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Our Rating for Break Limit Review (XBL Indie Games)
8.0 Replay
Each stage is difficult, so multiple sessions will probably be required to learn how to clear them. The only real problem are the load times; stages take upward of 15-20 seconds to start.
6.5 Graphics
They look simple, but are more than good enough given the game’s low price. The only real issue is that there are sometimes so many things on the screen that it can be hard to tell what’s happening.
7.0 Sound
Decent music and sound effects keep your ears occupied while you play. They’re not exceptional, but certainly work for this.
8.5 Gameplay
Easy to control and very fast-paced, and smashing through walls with your Break maneuver is fun.
3.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
Online leaderboards are provided and are a major point of the game, but there is little else beyond that for multiplayer.
8.0 Overall
A challenging score attack game at a great price, Break Limit is definitely worth your time.

Rating: 5.0, votes: 2

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