Vortex (iPod game)
|Release date(s)||September 12, 2006|
On Tuesday, January 30, 2007, Apple introduced a demo version of this game for free. It includes two sample levels. They have since removed the demo.
Vortex is similar to Breakout, in which you use a ball to destroy bricks. However, the bricks are arranged along the inside of a cylinder. You use the click wheel to move the paddle around the cylinder to control where the ball goes.
The paddle now is slightly curved, conforming to the game's circular outer wall. The ball moves slower as it approaches the cluster of revolving bricks and faster as it moves away. The effect, if you like, is that of planetary gravity, except in reverse. The ball's trajectory and speed – whether traveling toward or away from the cluster – is continuously influenced by the pulling forces of the outer wall. The angle at which the ball strikes a brick, or bricks, also has an impact on its direction and, usually to a lesser extent, its speed. The speed of the paddle upon making contact also has a subtle influence on the ball's path.
As game levels progress, the size of the cluster grows and the number of concentric circles comprising it increases. In the early moments of each higher level, the empty ring between the brick cluster and the outer wall grows smaller, a confinement that necessitates quicker paddle movement.
To pass the level, all destructible bricks must be shattered. Adding to the challenge, there are bricks which "retract" for a time, enabling the ball to pass through instead of shattering it. Certain sets of bricks also move around the circle. Other bricks take multiple hits to shatter. Steel bricks are almost indestructible, unless one hits a dymamite brick next to it, but are not required to complete the level. Dynamite bricks (indicated by red dots) when hit will take out several other bricks with its explosion but are also not required.
There are marked bricks which release powerups. The powerup, indicated by a small green sphere, heads out from the center and the player catches it to activate it. The powerups include resizing the paddle, changing the speed of the game, adding lasers or guns to the paddle, and extra lives.
Powerup bricks are not required to complete the level, but destroying a powerup brick, even if it is not caught, adds more points to the total than destroying a normal brick. The points score is equal to the points for the bricks destroyed plus the bonus points for timing.
All powerups expire if the player loses a life or beats a level with the exception the extra life powerup, which continues to have effect even after beating a level and expiring after losing a life.
In their review of Vortex, Pocket Gamer highlighted the integration of the iPod's scroll wheel with the 360 degree layout. However, the slow pace of the ball was criticized.
- Dredge, Stuart (2006-09-28). "Vortex review". Pocket Gamer. Steel Media. Retrieved 2011-04-05. "An innovative take on Breakout that works well with iPod's controls, even if it is a bit slow."