Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbols Adventure (PS4, PSV) – A Review


co20e3If you had asked me within the past decade, “Do you think the ‘Brick Breaker’ genre could make a comeback?”  I would have dismissively said, “No.” That being said, I definitely made an err in judgement. “Twin Breaker: A Sacred Symbol Adventure” by Lillymo Games is simultaneously a wonderful throwback to an era in video games long lost to the annals of time as well as clever modernization of the genre for a new era.

First let us rewind the clock a bit— Brick Breakers are at their core a sub-genre of the 1972, arcade (and early home consoles’) classic, “Pong.”  Four-years later, Nolan Bushnell and Steve Bristow, would refine the bat-and-ball premise with “Breakout,” which besides having a ball and paddle incorporated bricks to destroy in order to rack-up a high score.  Many years later a game aptly named, “Brick Breaker,” would truly cement the sub-class’s moniker, however, even with its eponymous name it is still deemed a ‘Breakout Clone.’

“Twin Breaker” takes the history and nostalgia of “Breakout” (and others—like 1986’s Arkanoid) and pays loving homage, while also adding in a lacquer of polish to an otherwise archaic mold.  “Twin Breaker” captures the chirpy, chiptunes that always accompanied older games, the (nearly) everlasting pixel art aesthetic, and the arcadey action of “Breakout.” It does so with ease, but if it were to merely clone an arcade title that has been duplicated so many times before, “Twin Breaker” would have been left wanting.  Instead, it brings the genre into a new decade by adding in modern sensibilities.  

Not only does “Twin Breaker” take a tried-and-true genre and bring it to 2020, but it does so with smashing success.

Colin Moriarty, (one of the developers of “Twin Breaker,” owner/founder of Colin’s Last Stand, and co-host to a plethora of podcasts including “Sacred Symbols”) wrote a fantastic, science-fiction narrative to pair with an already solid title.  It is exploratory in its palaver with the audience as it provides humor with more-serious underpinnings and motifs. Conveyed via splash screens and dialogue bubbles between Colin and Chris (the two protagonists of the game), it dissects a very real possibility of Earth’s place in the universe and how humanity’s interactions with one another could aid or hinder the celestial hierarchy without any of us truly knowing.  

Pretty weighty stuff, eh?  Don’t be too alarmed by the story.  It isn’t unnecessarily filled with jargon or high end philosophical stances; it merely expresses these issues as a framework, while the more tongue-in-cheek humor in the dialogue fleshes out the rest of the story.  That being said, if you wanted to dive headlong into the lore of this universe, there are codexes to unlock that further the player’s understanding of the world that they are experiencing. Playing a Brick Breaker that includes a narrative is rare and perhaps unheard of— The story and dialogue do not feel needlessly tacked onto an already decent ”Breakout” clone.  The story uplifts and fits snugly within the gameplay and vice-a-versa.

In addition to the inclusion of a narrative, “Twin Breaker” also works in innovative gameplay mechanics that keeps the pacing and moment-to-moment action thrilling and incredibly viable.  Every ten levels (in the 40 level campaign) features a unique boss battle, which work masterfully in the game’s pacing of difficulty. Halfway through “Twin Breaker,” two pairs of paddles are introduced, resulting in my favorite line of the game delivered by Colin’s “Sacred Symbol’s” podcast co-host, Chris, “This should make things a little easier.” (F.Y.I. It doesn’t).  However, this gameplay addition provides more difficulty and increases tension, which ultimately applies a nice little twist to the level designs that implement this feature. 

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In addition to the narrative, bosses, and refreshing nature of the game mechanics, this $9.99 digital package also includes several different gameplay modes which include: Marathon, Pong, Random, Shooter, Catcher, and Boss Rush modes.  You can check out how all of these modes function by watching our ASInquisitor Twitch stream VOD, which has been edited and uploaded to YouTube by clicking the link here: Let’s Play – Twin Breakers: A Sacred Symbols Adventure

“Twin Breaker” is a steal at $9.99 on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita (after all “Sacred Symbols” is in reference to Sony’s famous iconography emblazoned across their controllers), but that ten-dollar purchase will net you both copies because it is a cross-buy transaction.  Now onto the trophies: There are technically two separate trophy lists depending on which copy of the game you play, so even though each individual trophy is identical to its counterpart, you have the opportunity to achieve two platinum trophies. As a PS4 and Vita owner, I found this to be particularly enticing.  Personally, I find the trophy list to be fair, but still challenging. It will take you approximately three-hours to complete the campaign and perhaps 7-to-9 hours in total to achieve that coveted platinum trophy.

I highly recommend “Twin Breaker,” especially if you grew-up with arcades and classic home consoles.  It scratches a particular itch that not a lot of other games can reach. In our first ever review score for ASInquisitor, my lovely “Rage Quit” podcast co-host, Ariel, and I give it 4.5 ‘Polar Bear Paws’ out of 5. 

“Twin Breaker” gleefully harkens back to a golden era of arcades and Ataris with just the right amount of modernity.

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Preface:  I wrote this piece a while back, and really had no direction or purpose to lead the overall narrative.  I merely wrote what was comfortable for the moment.  Sadly though, this piece is a little rough around the edges, but consider the grammatical errors as author’s will and judge the content, rather than the mechanics.  However, I really did enjoy this one, and the ending seemed tacked on so I omitted it–I think it reads better for it.  I also was unable to come up with a suitable title, so for the moment it’ll simply be labeled as “Untitled.”  But, if you have any suggestions, or something jumps out at you while reading it, please feel free to suggest something.  I might eventually rework this and write an adequate ending, but till then just enjoy the ride!  Hopefully you like the atmosphere and imagery, and as always feel free to critique.


He walked briskly in the night, gandering as he gaggled across the sturdily built bridge.  The moon hung high, and the stars shimmered in unison like a child whimsically toying with a flashlight beneath a sheet.  Elliot was not fearful, or in a hurry, but his feet and his heart wanted him at his destination.  He had several blocks to go, but he observed and absorbed his surroundings with taught fervor.

There was an old man partially lit in the lamp that lay sunken in the shadows.  His mast was a long wooden pipe that could only be distinguished by the slow inhales and synchronic puffs, as smoke wafted above the stoop.  The man grinned a crooked grin as Elliot weaved onwards in an equally crooked fashion.

Beyond the old man’s resting place nestled a cat on the nearby roof.  He lay between the gutter and the top rail, and his eyes were aglow and his tail twitched irritatedly as if to say, “Leave before I scrap and howl.”  Elliot smirked at the sudden revelation that the roof was tin.  His own humor goaded him further, and before long he was at his destination—he was at the place where everyone knew his name.

The loudness of people cheering and clinking glass could be heard out front, and just as the wind began to carry the hundred year old sign into a sway Elliot stepped through the massive door frame.

As his eyes adjusted to the new lights and the clinks stopped as all the stools of the house pivoted toward him he bellowed in response, “It is I!” and the whole establishment went up in a cheer!  Before he could even find a stool at the bar a vodka on the rocks was served.

“You can smell the freedom with every wisp,” he whispered to the nearest patron.

“Ah, what you smell is your next novel my friend,” replied the man, “after all you do your best when your drunk!”

And, at that remark the bar went up in a roar even larger than the first!

“Bah, you don’t know me too well ye old snark.”

“I know you better than most and pray tell would you call your best friend a snark?  That’s just unkind!”

Another round of laughs erupted from the fiendish bartends.

“Thomas is that you?”

“It looks like you put on the goggles early tonight Elliot!  Hopefully you didn’t mount a stray without recollection?  Remember the last one—I thought you had stumbled into a zoo!  I had to pry her off of you.”

There was no laughter this time.  Elliot’s face suddenly became very taciturn.  He looked at Thomas–eye to eye, like a man killing his first beast.  At that moment, he let his now empty glass adrift and just about the time a full one reached his hand he burst out laughing along with everyone else.

“God, I can’t even remember the tits on her!” and that elicited a much hardier laugh than all the others combined.

The hours waned, and even though the bar was closed many men and women still laughed and cried as their old war stories unfolded into the sunrise.  In the wee hours of the morrow Thomas and Elliot stumbled arm and arm into the cobblestone incoherently mumbling to one another about the tits on that one!  There was always a laugh to be found in a drunken tale of lust and crime.

They staggered and yammered past the cat on the roof and a stoop that now stood empty.  As the blocks faded into memory, like the first drink had many hours ago, they found their bearings and plodded back to Elliot’s home.  Thomas hiccupped like an old cartoon character as he bid his friend farewell.  He staggered back down the street towards the tavern that he owned.

Elliot ambled across the gangplank into his floating home and promptly plopped face-down into the double that was coated in pages of his manuscript.  His snores matched the soft laps of the water against the old boat and just as quickly as the sun had risen above the hills in the distance it sunk into the waters on the other side.

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