Never Breakout The Chain

HIGH Shatter was dope, is dope, and always will be dope.

LOW “Deluxe” implies new content.

WTF What other old PSN games can we remaster? Trash Panic Remastered Deluxe, anyone?

The first few years of the PlayStation 3 were borderline embarrassing. There was the infamous E3 2005 presser where we all found out Ken Kutaragi’s dream machine would cost five-hundred-and-ninety-nine-US-dollars and feature giant enemy crabs. The launch lineup consisted of subpar ports, hot garbage, and Resistance: Fall of Man. The controller was bad, the system was ginormous, the UI was abysmal, and its multiplatform releases were near-universally inferior to their Xbox 360 counterparts. They also made Lair. Thankfully Sony pulled out of this tailspin and eventually course-corrected the PS3 to be a pretty damn good console, but it was a bumpy road getting there.

That era also introduced the gaming world to smaller, cheaper, indie-centric digital-only releases. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved was possibly the most influential game of the entire generation for showing console players a new way to consume content, and while the PlayStation Network’s output never matched what Xbox Live Arcade was churning out, it had some hits. One of the games I most fondly look back on in this category was Shatter, which remained console exclusive to Sony and was a fantastic reimagining of the classic Breakout! formula. Thankfully, I’m not the only one who remembered it, as publisher Pikpok took the reins from original developer Sindhe to release Shatter Remastered Deluxe.

You’re reading a pro-Shatter publication if Brad’s previous review is any indication, and I would suggest anyone who wants a detailed review of Shatter should check that out. This 2009 title has been described as a bit of an Arkanoid clone over the years, but it is significantly more than that. It’s an audiovisual experience of the highest order that takes the core “1-player Pong” of Breakout! and sets it in a trippy world with some truly memorable beats.

Across 70-ish levels, players will be knocking out blocks as one might expect, but there’s a twist — the players paddle is able to suck and blow (insert one’s own joke here) the puck to affect the curvature of shots. It’s easy to grasp while adding significantly more depth to the traditional formula, and there are numerous power-ups to mix things up as well. Simply put, Shatter rocks.

So, any judgment as to the merits of Shatter Remastered Deluxe really start with the equipment players will use to play it, as the entirety of upgrades are audio-visual related. For those with a modern display and hardware, the game runs in full 4K and 120FPS, and is a sight to behold. There’s a lot of depth to the backgrounds, and the sharpness and smoothness provided by this extra fidelity do a lot to make it pop. The exemplary music also got the remaster treatment, and players with a decent sound system will enjoy this in refined form as well.

My complaints are few and nitpicky, which is never a bad sign.

I’ve complained before about names being misleading, and while it’s a bit obtuse to be upset with, this game should’ve simply been called Shatter Remastered. Calling it Shatter Remastered Deluxe implies new content which is simply not found here. Yes, it’s in 4k, yes the music was remixed and 120fps makes a huge difference, but other than that, this is Shatter. There are no real gameplay improvements, so I feel the added “Deluxe” is a tad misleading. It’s also Shatter But Slightly More Expensive, as the original game was $7.99, and now it’s $9.99… for adding standard features common in this generation of hardware? Last time I checked most remasters are cheaper than their original counterparts, but $10 is still a reasonable price for such quality software.

Those slight annoyances are easily washed away by the fact that it’s just so gosh darn nice to have Shatter around again. Those who had a PS3 during the lean years remember it fondly, and the team at Pikpok have done a fantastic job updating it to modern hardware. It’s still very much Shatter, but that’s hardly a bad thing, and anyone interested in a lively reinterpretation of this timeless gameplay will do well to check it out.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Disclosures: This game was originally developed by Sindhe, then remastered and published by Pikpok. It is currently available on PS4/5, XBO/X/S, Switch, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on PS5 Approximately 4 hours of play were devoted to playing the main singleplayer mode, and the campaign was completed. The game features a 2-player couch co-op mode, but it was not tested.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E and features Mild Fantasy. There is absolutely nothing in Shatter Remastered Deluxe that could possibly be considered worrisome for parents. The music has no lyrics, and whatever story may exist doesn’t feature anything objectionable

Colorblind Modes: The game features no colorblind modes.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The game features subtitle options and presents them in large, clear font but with no way to resize them. All dialogue and instructions are provided in text. Nothing gameplay-wise tells me that people hard of hearing will have any issues playing it, as there are no necessary audio cues. This game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: This game’s controls are not remappable, but the game features a screen to view the controls in the option menu. Players control the panel with the right analog stick, use various power-ups with Square and Triangle, then use the L2 & R2 buttons to suck and blow the puck.

Jarrod Johnston
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25 days ago

No mention that this is a broken remaster of a MOBILE port? Guess those nostalgia goggles are completely opaque.