Usually I don’t bother with arcade-style games, but Shatter seemed rather interesting (and cheap at the time). Shatter is an adaption of a brick breaking game that clears up all the game-play issues. It also has a rather obvious plot premise that ties in with its game-play.
Standard brick breaking games are filled with game-play holes that take away all the fun and challenge. Usually the bricks remain static, unless the player acts upon the bricks. Even if the blocks do move, they would usually move in a fixed direction. This leaves the only critical thinking for the player to dwell on, to be where to shoot. The game-play of these games are also too slow to be truly challenging. Shatter adds to this a balancing act, vulnerability, physical restraints and constraints and boss levels.
In Shatter the player earns points by collecting the fragments from bricks, rather than the bricks themselves. To do this the player has to suck all the fragments towards the player character. The player can also blow objects away from the character. These functions have effect on all objects including the ball and free-moving bricks (which can damage the player). The blow function is also duration limited, because it is only used as a last resort against deadly objects. This relishes on what all modern puzzle games work on, the quick and easy way or the high paying methodical way.
Vulnerability combined with lethal nouns provides an initiative to finish as quickly as possible, aside from the time score boost. This makes the pace of Shatter faster and less bloated than standard brick breaking. The boss levels help push this time pressure even further.
The plot of Shatter is really simple, you are an anomaly in a kinetic energy farm that refuses to comply with the rule. The rule that all floating paddles like you, should knock a ball backwards and forwards repeatedly to produce electricity. All the other power generators are void of life and essence, due to repetition. Some of the boss levels even represent other repetitive games. The first boss level is a giant continuous snake very similiar to the one you would find in a mobile phone game. The second boss level’s game-play is almost identical to the Dingodile and Ripto boss levels (the former is from Crash Bandicoot, the latter is from Spyro the Dragon).
The plot of Shatter metaphorically describes what its game-play justifies, that all other brick breakers are soulless, brainless and repetitive. Shatter is a breath of fresh air.