Shatter Remastered Deluxe is exactly that, a remastering and expansion of Shatter that released 13 years ago on the PlayStation 3. Shatter was my favorite game from that year, and the year following when I bought it again on PC. At it’s core it’s just a brick breaker, one that’s been duplicated countless times, but developer Sidhe without hyperbole, reinvented the game and genre. Everything that made it amazing in 2009 remains in 2022, and Shatter Remastered Deluxe is the best brick breaker on the block.
Whether your familiarity with brick breakers is with Arkanoid or Breakout, that’s all you need to know to get this game. In Shatter Remastered Deluxe, the premise is simple, you have a paddle and you have to hit balls towards bricks and break them all. How Shatter shakes this up is by introducing (using their terms) blow and suck mechanics, or more simply, push and pull. You can alter the ball’s trajectory by pushing or pulling air, giving you more control on where the ball goes. This is most useful for architecting high scores, but there’s consequences to this as well. As you break bricks, shards will be left over that can be collected to increase your multiplier. To do so, you must use the pull system, but that means it’ll pull any loose bricks your way as well as the ball coming your way faster. The once-simple concept is enhanced by just a few button presses, to great effect.
Throughout your play you’ll encounter power-ups which can alter the ball and how it behaves. For instances there’s the ‘manueveraball’, which makes it smaller but more easily affected by the push and pull systems. Then you’ve got ‘unstoppaball’, which can break through most bricks in a single hit, making clearing the space faster. There’s power-ups that just give it ‘extra power’, where it is bigger and able to pass through bricks in less hits. A risk vs reward system can be put into play by simply launching additional balls onto the field during play to increase your score, but risk losing the game if you run out of them. Some power-ups let you gain extra balls to be used for the current level or future ones. As you collect shards, it’ll build up a meter that can be used to shield yourself from loose bricks coming your way. By not using your shield you can be knocked off the field temporarily, risking losing a ball in the process. By not using the shield, the meter builds up to allow for your shard blast ability, an ultimate which uses the shards against the field of bricks to nearly clear everything you have left. It’s a truly satisfying ability that never ceases to have usefulness.
There are ten worlds to break glass on, and you’ll encounter multiple waves of challenges. Some waves will be horizontal as we know it, sometimes vertical. In another twist, there will be certain levels where the playing field is a semi-circle for both horizontal and vertical orientations. This skews angles and even the push and pull mechanics in totally different ways. It won’t take long to see the credits, as the story mode reaches its natural conclusion in about 2 hours of game time. In that time, you’ll travel to fantastically created worlds and psychedelic and wonderful visuals. There are nine unique bosses to fight that use every mechanic to be defeated. It’s wholly satisfying, which thankfully there are other modes.
The story mode is only the beginning. While you can spend a lot of time there to beat the scores that appear on the leaderboard, there’s other modes to conquer. As you progress through the story you’ll unlock Endless mode, which lets you play until you run out of balls. Then you’ve got Time Trial in which you have to for once compete for a time in order to be effective. The time trial mode feels unique because no other aspect of the game puts you up against a timer. These two modes can be played in couch co-op, and make for a great addition to include within Shatter Remastered Deluxe. Rounding things out you’ve got a mode dedicated to the bonus round, to play for as long as possible as you juggle three balls. Finally there’s Boss Rush which is a gauntlet to fight the game’s nine bosses back-to-back without dying. There’s a lot to love here, and you’ll be spending a lot of time in each of the game’s modes, finding some favorites along the way.
Leaderboards are a huge part of the game today, as they were then, even though so many games since the mid-2000s have included them, it maybe feels less special. This being an arcade-style game feels right at home having leaderboards. There’s nothing like instantly comparing and competing with friends or strangers with a new high score, which can encroach on late night hours for some to acquire.
You can’t talk about Shatter without talking about its soundtrack. Composer Module made one of the best scores for a game, and one that’s so intertwined and synonymous with the game it’s from. It’s also one of those soundtracks I played start to finish outside of the game for months. For Shatter Remastered Deluxe, the soundtrack has been remastered in 5.1 surround sound and is like hearing it for the first time. Tracks like “Krypton Garden” is probably the most memorable, and is totally catchy on its own. “Neon Mines” is a personal favorite, with dark synths and light claps. Then you’ve got “Amethyst Caverns” with its haunting voices and upbeat tempo. Make no mistake, every song is great, and this soundtrack is everything right with games.
It should come at no surprise that the game simply looks amazing and performs well. On PC, you can run the game up to 4K with an uncapped framerate, and it just screams at these high framerates. I was always able to get the maximum framerate from the game at all times without any downtime. It’s a gorgeous game that could be mistaken for one of those WinAmp visualizers, or some sort of screen saver.
My PC Specs:
– Microsoft Windows 11 Pro
– Intel Core i9 9900K @ 5Ghz (Turbo)
– Corsair H115i RGB PLATINUM 97 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
– Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
– EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 12GB GDDR6X FTW3 ULTRA
– Seagate FireCuda SSD (500GB)
– Seagate BarraCuda SSD (1TB + 2TB)
– OWC Aura P12 NVMe SSD (2TB)
Whether its revisiting the game again or experiencing it again, Shatter Remastered Deluxe is just as revolutionary as when Shatter debuted in 2009. It’s a visual delight with sublime controls and the best pulse-poudning electronic soundtracks to-date. I love being able to revisit this game and experience it all over again, and the price is right to facilitate such a return. Shatter Remastered Deluxe is must-own, must-play, must-have on all platforms.
A Steam code was provided in advance by the publisher for review purposes