Saturday, February 07, 2009

More Blackberry Brickbreaker tips

Well it's clear that there are more people interested in Brickbreaker visiting this little blog than people interested in all my other themes put together, including Workplace Wisdom, Investments, Global Warming (or the lack thereof), Words that Stir the Soul, Politics, Religion, old Mercedes 280e sedans and coupes, or all that other stuff that I post up here. Who knew?

So I will add a couple of new things that I have learned about Brickbreaker, and I offer a warm welcome and a hearty thank you to anyone who is stopping by in search of something useful, or at least something new, on Brickbreaker. Check out the rest of the blog, leave a comment somewhere (even one that tells me I have my head up my fundamental orifice) and stop by again.

So, Brickbreaker Addict, here are a few new things I have learned lately. Keep your eye on the main prize, and make conscious choices about which pill to take depending on the situation you are in:
  1. Keep your eye on the main prize. The first two times through the 34 levels, points don't matter, LIFE matters. Don't risk a LIFE by racing over to grab some bonus pill that is not a LIFE. Don't get distracted by multiple pills falling and lose track of where the ball is.
  2. If you are in one of the levels where a horizontal row of silver bricks marches relentlessly towards you, and you have CATCH on your paddle, it will often be worth dodging a LIFE pill just to keep all your current lives. Remember that LIFE pills erase your LASER and your CATCH paddles. If the silver bricks are coming down you can lose multiple lives, making the original trade of CATCH for a new LIFE a bad one.
  3. If you have MULTI balls in play and a BOMB or a CATCH comes along, decide quickly whether you want to be down to just one ball, because that is what you will get if you collect one or both of those new pills. I lost a life because I was on the wrong side of the screen collecting a CATCH and waiting for a ball to hit my paddle, and the ball I was about to play simply vanished.
  4. Learn which bricks on which levels always contain pills. Level one only ever has two pills, for instance, and they are always in the same places. It bugs me greatly if the last pill on a level had a LIFE in it and I could not collect it. In the higher levels, manage the ball so that you have time to react, avoiding a FLIP or a WRAP but going after something useful. Level 14 is the best example of this, because the two bricks at the bottom right always contain pills. Steer the ball away after hitting the first brick so that you can decide what to do with the pill. If you like it (CATCH for example) try to keep from hitting the second brick for a while.
  5. Some games there are lots of LIFE pills, other games not very many. You can tell by the time you complete Level 3. Use the games when there are not many LIFE pills to practice other things, for instance going out of your way to collect FLIP or WRAP and figuring out how to survive with them if for some reason you are forced to collect one during an important game. I want to win every time, and so this is hard advice for me to practise, but I will still preach it...
  6. Brickbreaker has occasional random acts where a ball slips through the edge of a row of silver bricks towards your paddle, and out of play, or where a ball takes a weird bounce off the frame, or when despite your best efforts the paddle does not bounce the ball fairly. Be prepared. The randomness rarely works to your advantage.
  7. SLOW and LONG can be your friends when the game speeds up, but if you keep the ball in play then eventually the game will slow down again. At this point it may be worth accepting a GUN or LASER or CATCH pill to reset your paddle, giving up on LONG in favor of knocking out some silver bricks or dealing with a bunch of red bricks. But be careful. If the ball is nearing the edge of LONG and your pill resets you to one of the other paddles of regular length, the ball can go right past where the LONG end used to be.
  8. If you get past Level 16 with more than a couple of lives left, congratulations. But there is still plenty of trouble ahead, and many levels do not offer any sort of pills, including the all-important LIFE pill that you will need to replenish lost lives. For me, basic success means getting past Level 16 and into the second half of the game; that is like a bronze medal. Silver is getting through Level 8 the second time around, because Level 8 drops very quickly the second time through and never offers any pills to compensate if you lose a LIFE. Gold is getting through Level 16 the second time around. Platinum was completing an entire second round, which means overcoming the incredible speed that some levels throw at you right from the start. After the second round everything slows down again. I am now at 175,000 points and 55 lives, having gone around about 11 times, with no end in sight.
  9. Keep your thumb dry. Play where light conditions are in your favor, including no reflection off the ceiling. Take a break in the middle of your level not between levels (more on this in other postings about Brickbreaker on this blog).
  10. No matter how much you like Brickbreaker, you should occasionally set it aside and try to collect a real life, not a Brickbreaker LIFE...
  11. It may be surprising to some Brickbreaker addicts, but a Blackberry also includes a phone, email device, calendar, photo album, MP3 player, GPS, browser, camera and other neat things. Especially if your employer has provided you with your Blackberry, consider devoting more time to using these other tools than to mastering Brickbreaker. 2009 is not the year to steal time from those who buy your groceries.
Good luck to all. Feel free to comment here or elsewhere at Half Wisdom, Half Wit...and check out the handful of other posts on this Blog about Brickbreaker.

20 comments:

Kate said...

Thanks for the helpful tips. Your current high score is shocking, and now my record of 22 lives seems lame. If only there was a way to WIN the game, and move on with our real lives.

Halfwise said...

Kate, thank you for stopping by.

I have to tell you that if, somehow, you manage to get through all the levels, twice, you have won the game. After the second time through, everything slows down, and you can just waste your time collecting lives and running up the score.

Until, that is, you drop your Blackberry and the battery falls out, or you neglect to charge it and it goes absolutely flat.

At that point, you are back to level 1, with no points, and no high score from the game you were playing at the time.

This has happened to me twice. I am now through the second round for the third time and have 45 lives and about 130,000 points. The skill level required is lower than what you need to survive rounds one and (especially) two.

Cheers! Search the blog for Brickbreaker and get all the tips, or leave one or two of your own.

J said...

interesting about the level 3 "lives or no lives" boundary. That makes sense now. Some games, it would seem as tho the LIFE pill would come once or so every other level (then I wouldn't stand a chance at 13-16), but if i get one right away on level one, then they seem to come often. I was thinking that there was some sort of reward system involved and that at any moment, I'll hit it right and the LIFE pills will start a-commin'! guess not.

Halfwise said...

J Thanks for the comment and the observation.

The frequency of LIFE pills is probably just random, overall. But I agree with you that seeing a couple early in the rounds is very encouraging.

The last time I got through two full rounds of levels I was just showered with LIFE pills the second round. The good thing about stuff that is random is that it goes your way sometimes, whether you earned it or not.

Feel free to leave us your best score, or your best brickbreaker story.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Brickbreaker newbie, and a total addict. I am stuck at Level 17 and struck by the radomness of the Life pills in the early rounds, and by the evil nature of level 14 - it always eats up my lives, no matter how hard I try. Thanks for the tips, I'm reviewing them round by round as I go...back to work!

Halfwise said...

Level 17 is tough, for sure, especially after you have survived Level 16.

Levels 14 through 16 are no picnic; not enough new LIFE pills, and the silver bricks in Level 14 can mess you up. If you get GUN in Level 14, which bricks do you go after? I like to take the left one of the silver pair at the bottom right, and the first silver one on the left side of the screen.

BB Observer said...

I haven't been able to collect systematic data on this, but there is definitely a non-randomness to the appearance of lives--or rather, sometimes, as you have noted, they shower down in every level. Sometimes they truly are random. In a life-heavy game, I have noticed that the extra lives seems to stop if I lose a life or two. It would be fairly easy to build this into the program.

I've never entered level 16 with more than 7 lives, and never exited level 16 at all.

Halfwise said...

Hello BB Observer. I agree, it seems that the fountain of LIFE pills dries up as some form of punishment if you happen to lose one or two.

Have you visited the posting on this site that is devoted to Level 16?
http://halfwisehalfwit.blogspot.com/2008/12/brickbreaker-level-16.html

That posting was made some time ago, and served as the best that I knew at the time. I still think Level 16 is consistently one of the most difficult levels, but it can be beaten, and the strategy of deliberately sacrificing some lives to get past it, described in that posting, works OK. But as one of the commenters in THAT post mentioned, getting CATCH is a huge advantage. GUN would also be helpful if you use it wisely.

Randy said...

Regarding the idea of knowing when a game is heavy on Lives, when I start a new game I always hit the upper left "pill" brick on Level 1. If it isn't a Life, I start a new game right away. Sometimes I will make sure both pills in Level 1 are Lives before continuing.

It is my experience that the chances of the game having increased Lives is raised when that first pill is a Life and even more when both are.

Halfwise said...

That is a good strategy, Randy. And since the game does not track your overall winning percentage, sacrificing a game at the very first level has no downside at all.

Thanks for the tip!

donna said...

wow. very impressed with your site and your brickbreaker expertise. i am, however, a bit depressed as i was quite proud of my 10160 high score until now. i've only been playing for about a month, but still...

Halfwise said...

Donna you SHOULD be proud of your score. Getting that far in just a month is a really good start. I know that when I started playing I got stuck around that level for quite a while. Then things that seemed impossible become beatable and the bar was raised.

I hope you have checked out the other Brickbreaker tips on the site. Just use the search feature, and enter Brickbreaker.

Donna if you have a moment, can you do me a favor? Can you let us know what is the typical thing that gets you out of the game? A score around 10,000 is typically Level 16 for most people, which admittedly is a hard one to get through.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

i'm on level 28 currently.. and the ball just flew off the screen. FML.

Halfwise said...

Man, that bites. I have never had that happen to me but I am sure that it is just a matter of time.

David said...

Hi addicts! My experience of Brickbreaker has been one of major frustration. I remember the first time I got to level 34, after a few bounces, I needed just one hit on the red brick, but I only had one life left and I missed the ball :-( Since then, I've been through the 34 levels on 3 occasions, but each time, I eventually lost, usually on levels 13 or 16. So my best score is 26530, level 16 of the second run. Can't imagine that I'll ever get past the game a second time, but I'll certainly keep trying. Thanks for the site and all the info! David

Halfwise said...

David - so close! Actually part of beating the game is believing that you can, so that when things get hairy you don't panic and throw lives away.

Humans can beat this game, mere mortals just like you and me. Play with confidence that your steady improvement will pay off!

Anonymous said...

Hi Halfwise! I'm back on your site with good news: I've beaten the dreaded second round! I'm now on 256.730 points and half gone through the 34 levels a whopping 15 times! Now I'm just wondering whether it's worth chasing the 1 million points (which really holds no merit given that things are fairly easy from this point on), or just consider that I've beaten the game and try to catch a REAL life for a change! By the way, I play on a Blackberry bold 9000, in case that adds to my merit ;-). David

Halfwise said...

Attaboy David.

For a change of pace, how do you feel about Texas Hold'em Poker? The BBerry version is fun, and after a while you actually learn something about playing Poker. I made $18 million then gave up. Shame it wasn't real money...

Thanks again for the update and best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Great advice Halfwise on level 16 GUN! On the odd occasion I get it, shooting out the corners doesn't really work out for me so I will try the other 2 strategies. My high score is 27230 level 19 (Pearl) but I sense a breakthrough isn't far off ...

Halfwise said...

Go for it! Thanks for posting.