When it comes to easy to get into, time killing games, the brick break style is one that has been a staple for years. Going literally anywhere you can probably see at least a couple of people playing them on their phones. There’s a reason these games are popular, and that reason is that they rely on their addiction factor. Many of these games do not attempt to deviate from the established standard. You bounce a ball on block and hit it into other blocks to see how many blocks you can break without missing the ball. For better or worse the brick breaking “market” has stuck to this status quo for quite awhile.
Highscore Processing Unit, on the other hand, flips the genre on its head. It adds a variety of unique features and elements to help it stand out amongst these types of games as one of the best.
The visuals are the first thing you’re likely to notice as unique amongst other brick breaking games. The bricks themselves are 3D rendered and the player finds themselves descending down an infinite scifi like tube as they smash their bricks. Already this is a far cry from the typical plain black or white, static background we are accustomed to with this genre. While not particularly technically impressive, these visuals do their job as a way to immediately engage the player with more than just the bare minimum.
The unique visual style of Highscore Processing Unit lends itself quite well to the other unique elements of the game on the gameplay side of things. As previously mentioned, most brick break type games involve bouncing a ball back and forth in a straight line to smash as many blocks as possible without dropping it. Highscore Processing Unit instead opts for the approach of allowing the player to freely control the ball in mid air by manipulating their cursor around a circle. The ball will automatically try to reach the cursor by traveling through the circle rather than around it, allowing the player to find unique and creative ways to manipulate the space and rack up points very quickly. While realistically this is quite a simple change, the amount of depth that this control scheme adds to such a simple concept is pretty remarkable.
In addition to the manipulation of the ball in midair, Highscore Processing Unit adds another unique element to the bricks themselves, they move through the space. This adds another layer of depth to the possibilities presented to the player. In order to succeed, the player has to think not only of their own movements but the movements of the environment as well. While it’s not exactly the most high level problem solving task I’ve seen in a game, even the minimum amount of strategy this element adds immediately made the game more engaging. The use of the movement of the objects is also factored into the difficulty setting of the game as the higher the difficulty you choose the more of these objects are moving around for you to clear out. Highscore Processing Unit doesn’t punish the player for what difficulty they choose though, as the leaderboards measure all scores on every difficulty on one cohesive board. Which is excellent because highscoring is a main focus of the experience.
When booting up Highscore Processing Unit you’ll immediately notice that the leaders on the scoreboards are displayed on the main menu. As it’s title suggests, Highscore Processing Unit is all about your score. You’re pitted up against every other player in the world as you attempt to be the best of the best in your brick smashing endeavours. While I personally don’t care much about being on the top of a leaderboard in any game I play, I couldn’t help but be satisfied when I saw my name on the main menu as the highest scorer of the week. A visible reward for my time rather than just a means to kill it is another thing that makes Highscore Processing Unit stand out.
Unfortunately, for all of the great and unique changes Highscore Processing Unit makes it can not escape the biggest crippling factor of the brick break genre, it relies on addictiveness. Highscore Processing Unit adds a variety of features that will immediately engage the player but the wow factor wears off quite quickly, and once it does what you get out of the game is purely how much you put into it. If you’re not addicted to the game, which I was not, you’ll find yourself playing in very short bursts and quickly moving onto something else. One of the biggest elements that contribute to the lack of an addiction factor for me is the soundtrack. When playing a game like this a high energy soundtrack is important, but Highscore Processing Unit opts for a more toned down score. A more energetic soundtrack would help immensely to keep the player interested and it’s one of the few changes I can safely recommend.
Despite its lack of an addiction factor, Highscore Processing Unit is still a stand out amongst it’s crowd. The unique gameplay style and visuals draw the player in like no other, and the emphasis on your highscore is a great way to reward the player with something other than a time killer.