Break 'Em All

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Break 'Em All
Developer(s) Warashi
Publisher(s) D3 Publisher
Platform(s) Nintendo DS
  • JP: October 27, 2005
  • NA: June 20, 2006
  • EU: September 29, 2006
Genre(s) Puzzle
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer

Break 'Em All (also known as Simple DS Series Vol. 4: The Block Kuzushi in Japan & Brick 'Em All DS in Europe) is an Arkanoid clone released in 2005 for the Nintendo DS. The game features several single player modes, as well as single-cart multiplayer for up to 8 players. The game utilized the system's touch screen to control the paddle, as well as activate power-ups. Power-Ups could also be activated by pressing left on the D-Pad or by pressing the L Button.

The game was originally released on October 27, 2005 in Japan as part of the "Simple DS" line of products. In early 2006, D3 Publisher announced that it would be releasing a localized version of the game in North America under the name "Break 'Em All".[1]

Game modes[edit]

Tokoton Mode[edit]

Screenshot from the Standard Play variation of Tokoton Mode

Tokoton mode is one of the two single player modes in the game. It has two play options: "Standard Play" and "Random Play". Standard play consists of 50 stages.[2] As the player progresses through the stages, they begin to gain levels. The player begins at the "amoeba" level and slowly works their way to the "superior being" level. In "Random Play", the game randomly generates each level, with a total of over 3 million different combinations.[3] In Tokoton Mode, the player is given three lives at the beginning, and can earn more as the game progresses.

Quest Mode[edit]

The game's second single-player mode is Quest Mode. Quest Mode consists of 12 levels, with each level having three regular stages and one special boss stage. To defeat the boss, the player must find and exploit its weak point.[4] Quest Mode can also be played as a multiplayer portion. Up to four players can play through the mode separately, with the player with the highest score being the winner.

Survival Mode[edit]

Survival Mode is the game's multiplayer mode. Up to eight players can participate. At the beginning of the round, they each chose one of four unique paddles to play as. Each paddle is shaped differently from the standard flat paddle found in most Breakout-style games. This mode chooses to forego the normal Arkanoid brick-breaking mode of play. Instead, players must dodge balls and obstacles thrown at them. The last player to survive the round without being hit is the winner.


Like many other brick-breaking games, Break 'Em All utilizes a power-up system that allows players to modify gameplay to help them progress. The game's 12 power-ups are divided into six pairs of two, and at the beginning of each game the player must choose one of each pair. During the game, the power-ups become available in order of usefulness as the player's points increase, although only the most recently gained powerup is available for use. If a player completes a stage without using a powerup, it will carry over to the next stage. While most powerups are meant to make the game easier, some powerups make the game more difficult, but give the player a boost in points.

Tier Choice #1 Choice #2
Tier 1 Slow
Decreases ball speed.
Increases ball speed and score obtained by
each broken block.
Tier 2 Catch
Catches the ball with the paddle.
Reflects the ball back in the direction it
came from.
Tier 3 Multi
Makes two additional clones of the ball.
Temporarily splits the ball into 5 parts.
Tier 4 Safe
Extends a barrier behind the paddle.
Makes a clone of your paddle where you
activate this power-up.
Tier 5 Wide
Extends the length of the paddle.
Decreases the length of the paddle but
doubles the points for each broken block.
Tier 6 Laser
Temporarily gives the ball the ability to
obliterate any breakable brick in its path.
Temporarily gives the ball the ability to
destroy adjacent bricks.


Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
Publication Score C+[5]
Game Informer 75/100[6]
GameSpot 6.3/10[7]
IGN 6.5/10[8]
Nintendo Power 7/10[9]

Upon its release, the game was generally met with mixed to poor reviews. Many criticized the game's low production quality, as evidenced by its poor visuals, low sound quality and lackluster, rushed translation from the Japanese version. Many also felt that the game failed to add anything new to the genre, instead acting as a retread of what other games have done in the past.

However, many critics were impressed by the game's range of options, modes, and its inclusion of 8-player single-cart multiplayer. Some reviews also took the game's low $19.99 price into account, believing the game to be of sufficient value for the price. In his review, GameSpot's Alex Nevarro also praised the game's tight, responsive controls and intuitive use of the system's touch screen to control the paddle.

As of August 17, 2008 the game holds a 68/100 rating at Metacritic.[10]


  • Daisei Saitoh - Producer
  • Kayoko Maeda - Assistant Producer
  • Toshihiko Nakamura - Graphic Design
  • Toshihiko Kudo - Graphic Design
  • Dota Ando - Sound Design
  • Nobumasa Oikawa - Game Design
  • Shotaroh Sasaki - Localization