Sawbuck Gamer


Water Fall

Leaks doesn’t reinvent breaking blocks, but it does have a great soundtrack.

By Drew Toal • July 27, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Back in the days before you kids had your smartphones and 4chan and whatever, we played games on our graphing calculators. One of my favorites of this archaic platform—arguably the main reason I failed high school physics—was Turbo Breakout. Simply a version of the classic block-breaking, Arkanoid-style game, Turbo Breakout adheres to a simple, addicting formula—repelling a ball with a moveable platform and angling your shots to destroy floating block patterns.

Leaks is a variation on Breakout, and it adds a few things to the dependable model, notably some outstanding throwback music. The playing field is wide, so you have to scroll sideways and track the ball over a large area as you speed toward each level’s finish line. There is an option to have the ball burn straight through bricks, rather than bounce off of them, but if you pop a hole in the upper layer, water comes pouring out, slowly flooding the field of play. It feels like a cautionary tale, a warning against sitting around playing games instead of doing something to combat global warming. Because much like man-made climate change, Leaks adds some chaotic elements to a traditionally ordered system. Or maybe I’m overthinking this whole thing.

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424 Responses to “Water Fall”

  1. BarbleBapkins says:

    Is it actually possible to be good at Breakout/Arkanoid-style games? All of my experiences with them involve quickly knocking out the first 99% of the blocks through sheer luck, and then spending about 5 minutes trying and failing to break that last block.

  2. Effigy_Power says:

    It’s actually rather fun for a while, but it has some weaknesses.

    The fact that the playing field is continuous leads to a lot of game-overs when the ball suddenly reappears on the other side of the screen with no chance to make it there.
    Angling the shot is pretty hard with the keyboard, I think this would have been better with the mouse, where somewhat more complex maneuvers are a little easier to get just right.
    And on a personal note I don’t really subscribe to the nostalgia of Midi-music, so the soundtrack does get on my nerves after a short while. (But of course you can turn it off, however that also turns off the effects.)
    And, and this is beef with Newgrounds, the game-window is so small and so terribly surrounded by bleeping, blinking ads that it’s hard to focus. Not the game’s fault obviously.

    I do however love the idea of the water rushing in. It’s hard to avoid, but I don’t think that’s as much the point as delaying the inevitable for as long as possible.
    Giving the Breakout ball something to fall into rather than to just disappear into empty space actually makes the game a bit more frantic, which helps.
    And having to reach the other end of the map is an interesting twist, but made a bit frustrating by the iffy angling and the sluggish panel.

    All that said the game could have used a faster pace, a larger viewing area (that the side scrolling area is so tiny is a bummer) and that would have made it much better.

  3. George_Liquor says:

    Back in high school, I wrote my first, and pretty much last video game on a TI-85 graphing calculator. It was a turn-based Battleship-type game I called Sea Hunt. (“By this time, my lungs were aching for air!”) You were a destroyer hunting a sub with depth charges before it could torpedo your whole fleet; an idea I lifted wholesale from an old DOS game called Wolfpack. It had some nifty animations of a sonar sweep, depth charges and exploding ships which were not easy to pull off in BASIC on a crappy little calculator.

    Alas, the world was denied the genius of Sea Hunt when some wretched little shit stole my backpack.