Shatter is a game in where you control a paddle and try to break all the blocks on the screen. A simple task that gets progressively harder the further in you go. Starting off most of the modes are locked so your only real option is Story Mode. It starts off with your tiny robot paddle breaking out of confinement and going off to shatter the cells containing your brethren, as well as taking down the giant robotic wardens guarding each world. After that there are no more cutscenes until the very end and it’s pure gameplay. Your paddle also has the ability to suck or blow air to interact with objects or to alter the course of your ball. It can be used to collect the shards that break off of blocks for a large amount of points but you also have the risk of drawing a block in a crash course towards you. Getting hit by an object will take you out of the action for a few seconds which may prove deadly if the ball comes your way and you are unable to bounce it back.
Balls are basically your lives and losing all of them means you start at the start of the board and lose all of your points. It is not a hard game however, it seems very intent on keeping you alive as when you are down to a single life they will sure as rain throw a 1Up power up to keep you going. You really have to go out of your way to get yourself killed in Story mode so it feels focused more on the fun and the score instead of having any real challenge. In addition to the 1Up power up there is one that makes your ball into an unstoppable force that can break through any bricks and one that makes the ball smaller but allows you to easier control it by manipulating the wind. The blue shards that appear when bricks break serve another purpose other than just being there for points. Once you collect enough of them you can activate an attack that causes your paddle to fire a ton of projectiles wherever you aim and is very useful for damaging bosses. Blocks themselves can also be a danger to you if you just break without strategy in the later levels. They have their own physics and some can become unhinged from the cluster and come falling toward you. You could simply dodge them most of the time but you will be losing out on points if you are trying to compete with your friends.
Sometimes your paddle will be on the left side of the screen or on the bottom depending on the level. Some levels are even spherical and the variation in them really helps keeping the game from getting stale. That was a very real danger as the story mode is quite long and will take multiple hours to get through, though it managed to be just as fun at the end without feeling drawn out. Each world has a different background but none are really interesting. What truly separates them from one another is the boss at the end of each one and the ways in how to take them down. All bosses are unique and have different weakness that you must find in order to take them down. They are pretty fun to fight though the battles do suffer a bit from the amount of damage they can take making it feel like a test of endurance over skillful shooting. A lot of creativity went into these bosses and do not feel like a gimmick. These fights are likely where you will lose most of your lives so it comes in handy to have your shard meter filled in case you may need it. They are the only enemies in the game and the majority of the time you will be breaking blocks. In between levels there is a bonus mode where you try to keep three balls in play all at once in order to gain some extra points. This is a rather variation that can be played all you want once you unlock Bonus Mode after beating the game.
Graphics do their job, nothing impressive but it is very colorful. The highest resolution it goes up to is 1080p unfortunately. You can set the game to a higher resolution by tweaking a file but it is still something worth mentioning. Another problem is that you can’t rebind keys and the button to shoot shards is “crtl” which can be troublesome to reach when you are playing with the mouse. One gameplay annoyance I have is that you can’t choose when your ball will be shot from the paddle so you have to either rush for an opening or hope it shoots while you still have a good shot. And those are pretty much the only flaws I could see in this game. The frames will be as high as your monitor will allow them to be making the game feel even more smooth and responsive for those with monitors over 60hz. Music is pretty catchy and definitely a soundtrack worthy of a purchase. There is no voices or text, just one small cut-scene during the end and beginning then it is all arcade action without interruption.
From start to finish you will be doing the same thing which is breaking blocks, though they somehow managed to create a lot of content out of that simple concept. In addition to the lengthy story mode you have a couple of other modes to choose from. These include Endless which has you trying to survive in progressively harder waves of blocks and Endless coop that adds another local player to the mix. The second player controls his paddle with the “wasd” control scheme and the first can use either the mouse or arrow keys. You also have a Time Attack mode that has you rack up as much points as possible in five minutes and the previously mentioned Bonus mode where you try to keep three balls in the air for as long as you can. Boss rush mode is easily the worst one as fighting the damage spongy bosses wasn’t that fun to begin with. All in all there is quite a bit to keep you entertained if you are into the brick breaking genre. It has a few flaws like non rebindable keys and the bosses that take too long to go down but other than that it is great. Great music, great gameplay and lots of content makes this a solid buy for anyone looking to buy a fun and simple to pick up game.