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This article is about the puzzle video game. For the racing video game, see BreakThru (video game). For other uses, see Breakthru (disambiguation).
Cover art featuring Alexey Pajitnov (Windows)
Developer(s) Zoo Corporation (Windows, DOS)
Artech Digital Entertainment[1] (Super NES)
Realtime Associates Seattle Division (Game Boy)
Shoeisha (Sega Saturn, PlayStation)
Publisher(s) Spectrum HoloByte (Windows, DOS, Super NES, Game Boy)
Shoeisha (Sega Saturn, PlayStation)
Distributor(s) BMG Victor (Sega Saturn)
Designer(s) Steve Fry
Platform(s) Windows, DOS, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Sega Saturn, PlayStation
Release date(s) Windows
Game Boy
  • JP September 22, 1995
  • JP December 1, 1995
Genre(s) Puzzle
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

BreakThru! (ブレイクスルー?) is a tile-matching puzzle video game released for the Windows and DOS in 1994. It was created by the Japanese company Zoo Corporation and published by Spectrum HoloByte,[1] exclusively for the North American market.

The game would later be re-released on a number of different platforms. In the same year the game was ported for the Super NES[2] and the original Game Boy.[3] These two versions were developed by different companies and published by Spectrum HoloByte in North America.[2][3] A year later, Shoeisha ported/published the game in Japan for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation.


In the game, the player must move the cursor amongst a grid of different colored squares. All squares must be "removed", and squares can only be removed if they are directly touching two or more squares of the same color.[4] Once squares are removed, blocks then shift downward and either to the left or right, to fill in the blanks.[4] The game ends when either all blocks are removed, or time has run out.

If the player comes to a point in which none of the remaining square match, a few options remain. A few "special items" help clear out blocks that don't necessarily match, such as an airplane block that eliminates a full line of square in the direction it is pointed in, or a block of dynamite that blows up every square touching it.[4] Additionally, the player can also chose to drop new, randomly generated squares into the equation.[3]


The game is commonly attributed to being designed by Alexey Pajitnov,[5] who also originally designed Tetris, and published by Spectrum HoloByte, the company who first published Tetris outside of Soviet Union, Pajitnov's home country.[2][3] However, despite Pajitnov's name and face being on the game's title screen and box art, the PC version of the game clearly states that he only "endorses" and his only actual credits for the game is a "Special Thanks".[6]

After being released for the PC, DOS and Super Nintendo, the game was later ported in black and white to the original Game Boy.[5] Because the game's original concept is so heavily based on matching same colored squares, the squares in this version of the game have different patterns within them to distinguish between different square types.[5] Another version of the game, identical to the Super Nintendo version, was made playable on the Sega Genesis exclusively through the Sega Channel subscription service, which allowed subscribers to temporarily download games to their Sega Genesis system for as long as the system was left on. Additionally, ports for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn were released exclusively in Japan.[7]


Reception for the game was generally mixed. Allgame stated that while the graphics and sound effects were "less than dazzling", the gameplay was praised, stating that it had "...that special Pajitnov mix of simplicity and strategy that makes for a compelling, addictive experience."[4] Reviewing the Game Boy version, GamePro praised a few aspects, such as the ability to reverse approaching blocks, but felt that the "eye-straining graphics" severely hamper the gameplay: "While Tetris has simple, easy-to-see shapes that fall individually, BreakThru! has a complex wall of tiny, hard-to-see bricks with special bricks and bombs that are sometimes difficult to identify." However, they commented that this problem is considerably alleviated when playing on the Super Game Boy.[8] They gave a more positive review of the SNES version. Though they criticized some aspects of the graphics, they applauded the game's simple-to-learn yet strategically deep gameplay and variety of modes.[9] In a retrospective review of the SNES version, Honest Gamers appreciated the initial concept of the game, but criticized how it frequently degrades into slow and frustrating gameplay once none of the remaining squares match each other.[10]


  1. ^ a b "BreakThru!". GameSpot. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d "BreakThru!". IGN. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "BreakThru!". IGN. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d Rovi Corporation. "BreakThru!". Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Rovi Corporation. "BreakThru!". Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  6. ^ BreakThru! - Back Game Cover, PC Version,: "BreakThru carries on the challenging and addicting tradition of Tetris and I am proud to endorse this product. I hope you enjoy playing it as much as I do. - Alexey Pajitnov, Mathematician and Puzzle Game Designer
  7. ^ "BreakThru!". IGN. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "ProReview: BreakThru!". GamePro (66) (IDG). January 1995. p. 140. 
  9. ^ "ProReview: Breakthru!". GamePro (IDG) (69): 68. April 1995. 
  10. ^ "BreakThru! (SNES) review". Honest Gamers. October 7, 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 

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