Games That Nobody Plays Anymore: Shatter

[Games That Nobody Plays Anymore is a weekly series written by Nathan Hardisty with a little title card help from Juan Houter. It’s an on-going series about the forgotten games of yesteryear, and doesn’t totally reflect the title. Remember; nobody stops playing these games; it’s just a title. Don’t make something of it or I will come down to your house and ask you politely to stop. If you have any suggestions for future titles to ‘GTNPA’ don’t forget to leave me a comment!]

Right off the bat I’m going to say that Shatter is the greatest retro game ever made. It’s in my top ten and it deserves its spot in there. I love it. I want to hug it and love it and do things to it. It’s a downloadable PSN and Steam title made by ‘sidhe’ and it is one of the most breathtaking trips that nostalgia can ever hope to take. You could say it’s the evolution of breakout, the game where you control a rectangle on the bottom of the screen and have to blah blah play Breakout for free here. Shatter takes all the retro elements, all the blinding nostalgia and throws everything into a perfectly polished kitchen sink.

You control the rectangle, alike Breakout, but there are many variables that come into play. You can push out or pull in air, moving your ball into the upper echelon of blocks you have to break. You can also shoot out more than one ball. The game is designed as one-player only, but I don’t know if it would be possible to even create a two player mode. When you destroy a block, you gain shards which power-up a bar. Eventually, when fully powered up, you can let out a barrage of lasers upon the remaining blocks. Power-ups and bosses are added into the mix to keep the game fresh and exciting.

Shatter is addictive, brutal and fearless in its design. There are giant snakes, massive orbs full of brains and a giant octopus just to name a few bosses. When you suck in the air, not only does your ball come towards you but also the blocks that have detached themselves and started to float. The story is… non-existent. There’s one cool cutscene (without dialogue) that tells you what’s going on (you don’t know what’s going on) and then you’re on your way to kick your retro-self three times over. The game does a stunning job at managing both challenge and difficulty curve.

The soundtrack is one of the greatest ever created. Not just in a videogame, but in the whole of time and space. It is electric funk kicked to the max with a dash of peppermint pop and all sorts of ambiance to soothe the techno soul. It is lush and adds a whole layer of groove to the retro element. It’s alike the ‘heartbeat’ sync in when you push a ball back in Pong, except this time that beat has been transformed into techno dazzle. It is soooo damn good. I find myself humming a few of the tunes, even months after finishing the game.

Shatter is a short game, I will admit, but it’s a damn good ride through nostalgia. It takes you places you’ve never been before with your age-old self. It’s cheap on the PSN store, the Steam price is still a tad high, but there’s still something for you to come back. There’s leaderboards, boss crawls and all sorts of goodies. I spent over a week trying to get all the trophies for it (and epic failed). It is so… good. I actually couldn’t believe it at first, when I finished it, I was breathless. It’s brilliant, really, play it. There is no reason not to.

Taking a break from praising the game, I’d like to talk about Games That Nobody Plays Anymore. I want your feedback on this guys: should I (for the whole of September) do a God of War themed run-through of all of the games so far? Platform Nation has Spiderweek and Halo Reach launch week, I’ll be writing special editions for those weeks, but every Saturday I think I’m going to run through the God of War games starting with Chains of Olympus. Tell me what you think in the comments section below, oh and buy Shatter. Seriously.

Next week: A favourite of mine, The Movies.

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