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Breakpoint Review

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1131528910_Breakpointlogo.png.15be3b0dd2796da93592757daa363f6b.pngBreakpoint puts a new twist on the classic twin-stick shooter formula by giving you melee weapons instead of guns to survive wave after wave of geometric enemies. From developer Studio Aesthesia and publisher Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, Breakpoint creates a fresh arcade score-chasing experience out of one novel concept.
Breakpoint relies on a straight up classic arcade game formula: your only goal is to rack up a high score by surviving for as long as possible. In fact, the game doesn't even have any other game modes or options, it's all about the core experience and comparing your scores on the online leaderboard.
The game plays like any other twin-stick shooter except for the fact that your attacks are all melee weapons instead of guns or lasers. You start off with an axe but it's also possible to pick up a sword, hammer, spear, or daggers from defeated enemies. The fundamentals are the same as any other twin-stick game—destroy all enemies and survive by outmaneuvering them—but obviously you have to stay in melee range the whole time, which does make things feel a little more dangerous. Sharp evasion skills are more important than ever with Breakpoint.
Of course, just melee weapons sounds like it really limits your attack options, so there's another key aspect at play here: after a few hits your weapon breaks, causing a huge explosion that demolishes any nearby enemies. Planning your strategy around the weapon break is crucial since it's a massively powerful area attack and oftentimes the difference between survival and becoming overwhelmed by enemies. The broken weapon also isn't much of an issue because you can repair/recharge it by collecting the energy dots that enemies drop when defeated. Collect enough energy and your weapon will be upgraded to be stronger and/or have more reach, though breaking eventually is inevitable.
The weapon break system is a fun way of adding some strategic elements to the familiar twin-stick gameplay formula. Instead of just shooting wildly (or swinging wildly, in this case) you need to plan your approach a bit more to ensure the break happens at the most opportune moment. It helps keep the arcade gameplay a little less mindless, plus getting a huge explosion that wipes out all of the troublesome enemies nearby is pretty satisfying. In that sense, the most important aspect of Breakpoint is setting up these moments where you can cause a huge explosion and reap the points that it provides.
The downside is that there really isn't much else to Breakpoint. There's only one game mode and there aren't any options to customize it to create new challenges. There's a small handful of weapon types you can experiment with but these are beholden to enemy drops so there's no guarantee what weapon you'll see available at any given time. You can compare your score on the leaderboard and even check out replays of other players to pick up their strategies, which is a neat feature. Granted, Breakpoint only costs $4.99, but it would have been nice to see a bit more variety in modes or features.
The presentation of the game is decidedly minimalist, evoking the neon arcade vibe of the 80s with colorful geometric enemies set against a stark black background. The music is also a pretty light touch, and you shouldn't expect too much variety here either. In the end the presentation is fine for what the game is, and the neon style has a hypnotic quality perfect for zoning out from the world around you and focusing entirely on the game.
Breakpoint is a fun twist on a classic game genre, one that will certainly scratch an itch for any old-school arcade fans that love zoning out with an engaging high score chaser. The lack of other game modes does make the experience feel a bit one note, but at such a modest price point it's hardly a stretch to give Breakpoint a chance and pick it up every now and then for another attempt at unseating the online leaderboard.
Rating: 7 out of 10 Breaks
Review copy provided by publisher
Breakpoint will be available on the Switch eShop on September 24 for $4.99.
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