The original Breakout is bonafide gaming royalty. The people who were involved in the making of the game went on to do spectacular things across different fields in the technological sphere. Not least of whom were two people you might have heard of – Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. That’s right, both the Steves were involved in making the first Breakout. Since then, the formula has been used to make a million different games across every imaginable platform. The notable games made using the formula include Arkanoid, Quester and an upgraded version of the original game called Super Breakout. Whatever level of exposure you’ve had to games growing up, chances are you’ve played a Breakout clone.
So when you come across another game that is based on the Breakout formula, it’s easy to be cynical. What else could you do with the basic concept? There’s a paddle and you move it back and forth to break bricks. But there’s something about good gaming concepts – when they’re executed well, they’re fun to play, even if you’ve played variants of them before.
The game is named after Siesta, a character who’s fallen asleep and is being whisked away to a land filled with colorful locales and creatures known as ‘fiestas’. The game plays through the journey that the fiestas take Siesta on. Siesta is the ball here, and his bed is the paddle. There are a bunch of ways to control the bed – you can use the D-pad, the stylus or even the control pad. You are free to stick with whichever of these suits you best, but the stylus seems to grant the most accuracy. As the fiestas are taking Siesta for a ride, he gets bumped up into the air, and you have to position his bed (the paddle) beneath him so that he doesn’t fall off. If you hit a button at the exact moment Siesta hits the bed, he jumps even higher the next time.
The Game Play:
If all of this sounds pretty routine, that is because it is. But Siesta Fiesta isn’t a straight-out clone. It does have a personality of its own. For one, the world isn’t a static single screen like in other games based on the formula. Instead, the level is constantly scrolling left to right, and bricks and obstacles appear and disappear from the top of the screen. Since a few of them stay for a limited amount of time, hitting them takes timing and proper positioning. When you reach the end of a level, you are granted either a bronze, a silver or a gold medal depending upon how many bricks and bonus objectives you managed to reach. Getting a gold is notoriously tough, and the completists will have a field day replaying levels over and over to improve their score.
The levels, block types and powerups are sufficiently varied too. As you progress, the game slowly introduces these new elements. This is one of the things that has always been the strength of the Breakout concept – the fact that players have to keep in mind how different elements on the screen react to being hit, while also managing to keep the ball in the air. One of the block types has arrows which indicate which way a fireball will go to after hitting them, and there’s another one that controls the direction in which these arrows point. So you have to create the correct directional combination before you let a fireball loose to achieve the maximum points. What’s more is that you have to be mindful of keeping away from certain blocks that deduct points from your score when they are hit.
Some of the levels in Siesta Fiesta are time trials, and this makes the proceedings on screen even more exciting as you will have to clear out the screen of all blocks before the timer ticks down. In some other stages, you get powerups that modify your paddle, morphing it into a fan of sorts that levitates Siesta into the air. The action takes place across eight distinct worlds, and the end of each of them is marked by a boss fight. The boss fights aren’t too difficult, and they usually involve a form of pattern recognition. Figure out when the boss attacks, figure out when it’s weak, and then time your attacks to match that. These battles are a refreshing change of action from the usual block-breaking gameplay.
Once you’re done with the campaign, there’s really not much else that Siesta Fiesta has to offer. There aren’t any online leaderboards where you can climb up the ranks. If you’re so inclined, you can revisit some of the levels to improve upon your own score.
Siesta Fiesta is a fun game that puts its unique twist on the Breakout genre of gameplay. The game looks great and is accompanied by a delightful soundtrack that will put a smile upon your face. While it doesn’t have a lot of replayability, it is a fun ride.
Game Score: 8.5 Out of 10
Release Date: 2014
Genre: Action, Adventure
Console: Nintendo 3ds
Section: Video Game Reviews
Developer: Mojo Bones