games / Reviews

Break Limit (XBLA) Review

December 9, 2010 | Posted by Trace Aber


The indie games has seen quite a lot of shooters in the last couple of years, ranging from downright insulting to pretty good. A few of them have tried adding a little something more to their games, and Break Limit, the second title released in the currently on-going Indie Games Winter Uprising, falls into that category. While you have all of the standard mechanics for a solid shooter, Break Limit also has its titular feature, which allows the spaceship to smash through everything in its path to create high speed action not seen in many shooters.

Break Limit takes place sometime after the 3rd Galactic War, where the only way to unite and bring peace to the territories of the Pylesian Galactic Coalition was to put on sporting events where contestants would risks their lives for audience approval. I’m not sure how man risking their lives prevents war, but I guess things are different in 3251. That’s about all the story you’re going to find in Break Limit, but the focus isn’t on the story (and I think you only get this by playing the tutorial anyways) – instead it’s about surviving for as long as possible.

Currently, there are two levels to choose from with a third one being promised in the first free update (which could hint to there being multiple free updates), three weapons and one ship. At first this may seem a bit underwhelming, but it should be noted that developer Zombie Monkey Games packed as much as possible in that ostensibly small package.

First off, both levels have multiple branching paths to choose from, each of which turns the camera around 90 degrees. It’s more than just for looks too, as each path differs greatly from one another and ensures multiple playthroughs with no two runs the same. The screen is constantly filled with various enemies who rush at you, platforms that move about the whole screen trying to crush you, and large asteroids that break up into smaller chunks as you damage them trying to hit you.

Things can get pretty chaotic, but thankfully you have a secret weapon at your disposal; your Break Limit ability. It allows you to blast past all enemies, walls and asteroids at hyper speed, demolishing any and everything that dares stand in your way. Your ship is invincible for so long you have power in your Break meter, which is earned by collecting blue power orbs that are scattered throughout the stage. The levels are designed so you’ll sometimes have to use your Break Limit to get more power orbs, meaning it’s always a good idea to keep some in the reserve in case you run into that huge cache of orbs. The Break Limit also comes in handy when you find yourself surrounded by enemies, which towards the later parts of levels happen quite often, so it’s always nice to be able to blast your way out of a sticky situation.

My only problem with Break Limit (both the feature and the game) is that you’re given no warning when your Break meter is about to run out. This may seem trivial, but I had quite a few deaths that occurred due to this. It’s really easy to get caught up in the excitement of smashing everything to bits that you sometimes forget to check it, so a nice notification tone would be nice (or maybe I should just be more patient). But it appears that they’re fixing this in the first patch scheduled to be released in January, so this is only a temporary complaint.

The 411
Break Limit may seem like it has little to offer at first, but this game is incredibly challenging. It’s not about rushing through the two levels and calling it a day – it’s about getting closer to the end of the level each time and aiming for that high score. It includes a ranking system that gives you special bonuses, as well as online and local leaderboards. It features three levels of difficulty, and each one plays out differently so there’s actually quite a bit of replay value here, and is a great value at 80MP. This is a game of skill, reflexes and level memorization, and I mean that in the best way.

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Trace Aber

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