Shatter Remastered Deluxe is a remastered version of the original Shatter that came out for consoles in 2009. I missed out on this back in 2009 and only got to try it recently, and man was I missing out on a nice little gem.
In a sea of large multiplayer royales and huge story-driven titles, it was nice to play something that only had one goal in mind: delivering fast-paced, simple fun with a kick-ass soundtrack and is plenty replayable. This is a fun take on Arkanoid that adds a lot of depth to the basic formula with a few key additions, and nice unlocks and options that make it great for short bursts, or long sessions.
Shatter Remastered Deluxe, is available on the Nintendo Switch, PS4 PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S, and on mobile through Netflix.
▍Extremely Clear While Being Stylish
While it’s always nice to have flashy graphics, simplicity is always the most important thing when it comes to games with just a few elements, and Shatter Remastered Deluxe builds upon this design philosophy from the original in great strides.
Levels are incredibly vibrant with everything you need to know still being very visible despite all the colours on the screen. Every stage starts out by giving a few seconds to take it in the stage before you send a ball out, or the game does it for you. What also helps is the game’s stellar design when it comes to its various gameplay elements.
Every block that you can strike at in Shatter Remastered Deluxe has a property to it. More of these blocks are slowly introduced as you progress, and the distinct colour of the various blocks and shapes make it easy to identify how they’ll interact with your ball during play.
For instance, earlier in the game radiation blocks appear to show you that when you hit them, they explode. Triangle radiation blocks when struck will propel you forward. So when you see a triangle block that’s not moving, even without seeing the wind you recognise that has something to do with movement.
Of course, it wouldn’t mean much if these also weren’t incredibly satisfying to knock around. Shatter Remastered Deluxe has some amazingly clean visual and audio design that makes it satisfying to watch blocks explode into several flying pieces. And the game manages to maintain visual clarity even with hundreds of particles flying across the screen.
A nice touch it took me to appreciate after some play was the ball direction indicator. During play, the borders of the level will indicate a line where the ball is supposed to land. This takes away some of the guesswork needed to position your bar and also is a great way to help you familiarise yourself with the game’s unique suck mechanic, which we’ll go into later.
Not to mention Shatter Remastered Deluxe has a stellar soundtrack. I’ve seen some reviews mention the game’s music has some stuttering, though during my play session it wasn’t noticeable. It definitely adds a lot to the game’s experience with its colourful setpieces and futuristic backdrops.
Overall Shatter Remastered Deluxe looks, sounds, and feels good to play. The clarity of its visuals helps in frantic situations, especially during boss fights, letting you focus and dive right into the game and keep getting better, even when new elements are being introduced regularly.
▍Arkanoid on Steroids
And that’s definitely a bonus because even though this is essentially Arkanoids, there’s a lot going on under the hood in Shatter Remastered Deluxe lets it somehow take this over-30-year-old genre into something exciting.
Shatter Remastered Deluxe has one key feature that mixes up the regular formula, and that’s its push, and pull feature.
Essentially during the stage, you can hit one button to suck the ball towards you, and the other to blow it away from you. This simple mechanic adds a lot to the game, as the ball’s speed and direction are handled by physics. Depending on where your bar is, the relative position of the ball, its speed and its angle can be changed. Some bosses even need you to use this feature to expose its weak points while juggling where your balls are on the screen.
On top of that, you also have a power gauge that fills up as you pick up shards and earn points. When the gauge is full you can perform a shard storm, firing all the shards you collected at blocks on the screen for a couple of seconds, letting you hit whatever blocks you want without needing to worry about the ball. Shards also give you a score multiplier.
To get pick-up shards though, you have to use the pull function, and when you pull, the ball moves faster toward you and turns its angle, making it harder to hit it back. Not to mention it starts sucking in debris that can hit your block, sending it beyond the line making it impossible for you to send balls back, potentially destroying them if you’re not careful.
This isn’t even mentioning the fact that you can use the power gauge instead to create a shield that drains it over time, this shield blocks all debris and instead reflects all the energy you suck in and turns them into bullets! However, doing it this way means you’re foregoing the score multiplier entirely for a safer and more aggressive alternative.
It’s all in all just good game design. Something as inherently simple as sucking the ball towards you can be mixed in with so many abilities, and even the score to make something that has so much risk and reward. This isn’t even mentioning all of the unique blocks in the game, some of which will continue to multiply unless you get rid of the source, or ones that block your balls away and will spin if you hit them, and so much more that get introduced with every new world you visit.
It’s simple on the surface, but complex under the hood and has so much risk and reward baked within its design that you can spend hours just trying to claw for that perfect score. The game even uses lives in an interesting way. Naturally, each ball represents a life, and during play, you can send more of your lives out to destroy blocks even more quickly, at the cost of possibly losing more lives at once.
Shatter Remastered Deluxe is just loads of fun to pick up and play. It adds so much variety to the Arkanoid formula while being incredibly simple and intuitive to play. It’s one of those titles that you’ll find to be easy to learn, but hard to master, which is definitely a plus with its…
▍Loads of Replayability
I never really bothered replaying games like Snakes, Pac-man, or other kinds of games that focused on getting a high score because after a while it felt kind of repetitive. Luckily this game offers quite a bit of content for its tiny size, and even has options for co-op!
Shatter Remastered Deluxe comes with a story mode with 10 chapters, each containing up to 7 levels with a boss fight at the end. Each of these levels has unique gimmicks and each chapter with unique blocks that get introduced.
Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the game, you can unlock a bunch of new game modes, including Endless, time attack, Bonus Mode, and Boss Rush. These modes themselves are pretty self-explanatory and Endless and Time Attack even has Co-op versions to play with a friend, and make for an absolutely chaotic,but fun time.
All of these modes are tracked on a leaderboard, letting you see the scores of other players and your own at any time. You can compete with others or yourself to get the highest score, and since each session only takes about a couple minutes, it makes for a tiny time investment, but a major time sinks when you realized you’ve spent several minutes messing around with the stages, capturing that “clean” run.
The only gripe I have with Shatter Remastered Deluxe is it missed an opportunity to have a custom map feature to let players create their own levels and share them. I think what the devs have on offer is a great variety for new players, but older players who played the original might not have as much reason to get this title if they own the original on PC. If this game had a custom stage function to create and share levels it’d add a ton more replayability to the game, while bolstering its community.
▍Shatter Remastered Deluxe is Just a Good Time
Shatter Remastered Deluxe is in general just a fun game to play, and that’s something we need a lot more of today.
While I can’t personally compare this to its 2009 iteration, Shatter Remastered Deluxe itself runs very well, has great music, and is still incredibly fun to play with simple mechanics that are hard to master, but every time you manage to do something slightly cool even if on accident, it feels incredibly rewarding.
With Shatter Remastered Deluxe being out on PCs and consoles if you’re looking for something to help break the boredom for a couple of minutes or something mechanically challenging to sink your teeth into. It also happens to make the perfect side-game to mess around with, if you have a Steam Deck.