In a nutshell, Arkanoid: Eternal Battle is Arkanoid’s answer to Tetris 99. And honestly, we’re here for it.
Okay, it’s not quite the same as Tetris 99. While the Switch-exclusive take on Tetris sees you battle it out against 99 other players, Arkanoid: Eternal Battle‘s Battle Royal twist instead pits you against only 24 others. The result is similar, however: a classic single-player experience transformed into a tense all-for-one battle that’s as engaging as it is moreish.
Even if you’ve never played an Arkanoid game before, you’re likely familiar with the concept. First launching in 1986, it’s Taito’s answer to Atari’s Breakout, a game about hitting a ball with a paddle to break formations of blocks above. It’s a format that’s been done to death, but Arkanoid: Eternal Battle manages to make the ages-old formula feel fresh and exciting again.
Of course, the goal of Eternal Battle is to be the last player standing. Well, sort of. You’ll gain points for every block that you break, with bonuses available for collecting pick-ups, damaging enemies (random shapes that appear on your screen) and keeping a good chain going. Drop the ball, and you’ll lose points, and fail to clear your screen before other players and points will be deducted from your total, too. Your score can (and likely will) fluctuate wildly, then. But play well, and you’ll see yourself climb the ranks.
Be one of the last four players in Eternal Battle mode, and you’ll take on a boss of sorts, going head-to-head to cause as much damage as possible. Here you’ll be hit with various negative effects, like a tiny paddle, being frozen in place, and more. Keep hitting your ball to do damage to the boss, though, and you’ll be in with a chance of taking the victory position. Still, being the last player standing doesn’t guarantee a win: it’s still possible to be defeated by the boss. A little harsh, if you ask us.
Alongside Eternal Battle mode, Arkanoid: Eternal Battle also boasts the classic 1986 arcade version of the game, a local two-player versus mode, and a single-play ‘Neo’ mode, which challenges you to set high scores and, ultimately, get far enough to take down the boss by yourself. Happily, every mode has a global leaderboard, and so if you enjoy chasing scores you’ll be in your element here.
Perhaps our only complaint about Arkanoid: Eternal Battle is how busy the screen can be. When playing Eternal Battle mode, your opponents’ screens appear behind yours, constantly flicking back-and-forth as everyone’s score changes. While yours always remains centre focus, it can be a little distracting to have the background constantly jumping around. The same is true for the final four-player showdown, where you’re all playing on the same screen. Other balls and paddles are greyed out, but it’s still not always easy to keep track on your own.
That niggle aside though, we’re pleasantly surprised with Arkanoid: Eternal Battle. There have been many versions of Arkanoid (and other Breakout clones) over the years, but this might be one of our favourites. The Battle Royale format really does work, and the end-game boss mode is an unexpected but welcome twist. We’ll certainly be jumping back in again and again to chase those high scores.