The meeting of paddle and ball has defined gaming entertainment long before video games even existed. And since 1976, when Atari released the arcade classic Breakout, it’s been pretty much a staple of video gaming, too.
For those unfamiliar with Breakout and the many games it has spawned in the last 40 years, it puts you in control of a paddle at the bottom of the screen. At the top is a series of bricks, and bouncing around the screen is a ball. It’s up to you to hit that ball with your paddle in order to destroy the bricks.
Wikipedia lists 62 Breakout clones in what is undoubtedly a very incomplete list; there’s surely a hell of a lot more. I’ve played a fair few in my time of varying quality, the latest of which is Hot Pink, from developer Wildgrass, that landed on Steam in May. It’s on the higher end of the quality spectrum, but rather than adding extra bells and whistles to the tried-and-tested formula, Hot Pink just turns everything up to 11.
Hot Pink is neon, it’s crazy, it’s totally in-your-face. It’s a lot faster than many other games of its ilk, so if your reflexes are not that of a ninja’s, expect to die pretty often. But dying often isn’t a problem; Hot Pink basically expects it from you. As soon as you see that ‘Game Over’ screen, it’s a case of pushing a button to instantly start again and attempt to beat your best score.
Look, I’ll admit I’m not very good at Hot Pink. I’m clearly not enough of a ninja. But it’s addictive enough that it makes you want to keep trying and get better. You can see a few of my attempts in the video below. And if you want to try it yourself, Hot Pink is available on Steam for £7.19/$9.99.