Turoid is an Arkanoid clone, where the point is - like in many other games like it - to bounce a ball with a paddle in order to destroy all the bricks on a given level. The paddle is controlled with a mouse (the mouse sensitivity can be adjusted with the numeric keys). The bricks come in various types: the green, orange and white bricks can be destroyed simply by hitting them; the yellow brick can be destroyed only after picking up a certain powerup; the purple brick contains a ball that will fall down after destroying it - two hits with such a ball will destroy your paddle; the gold bricks are "special" and many various, benevolent effects may occur when they are hit. Only the green, orange and white bricks need to be destroyed to complete the level. A level editor application is included with the game.
It just so happens that I'm forced to doubt the quality of my own review. For to write a good review you would need to have plenty of experience with the game itself, as with games that can be compared to it. I do not worry about the former, it's the experience with similar games that I lack. That's not because I don't have access to such games; it's just that I keep coming back to Turoid whenever I try one of them.
So what is Turoid? It's a typical Breakout game in which you have a paddle, a ball and an assortment of bricks that need to be destroyed. You destroy bricks by hitting them with a ball a number of times, depending on their colour. Clear all (normal) bricks and you win the level and progress to the next. Don't take too long though, as the balls will gradually speed up. Let slip all the balls and you lose a life. That's the basics and the staple for all these games.
Turoid expands on this concept a bit, though. First of all there's a gold brick that can't be destroyed by regular balls. Then there are so-called ‘bad' bricks and ‘special' bricks. The first sort releases red boulders that hurt your paddle. Get hit twice and you lose a life. The second kind usually releases a gold boulder that can have a variety of effects: from ‘healing' the paddle to granting you a life or even letting you skip the level entirely. Gold boulders can also grant various paddles, another feature of the game. There are regular short, medium and long paddles (don't make the mistake to think that a bigger paddle is better, though!), sticky paddles and two kinds of shooting paddles. There's also a paddle that's regular, but lets you shoot two silver balls; very useful!
Speaking of balls, that's where the game really shines. There's three kinds of balls: regular red ones that bounce on everything, can't destroy gold bricks and need to make multiple hits on most regular ones, silver balls that still bounce but can destroy anything in one hit (including gold bricks) and gold balls that destroy everything in their path and don't bounce on anything but the paddle and the field limits. All this may not be so remarkable, but being able to have sixty-four of them at once is! It's quite spectacular when you get a chain reaction of ball explosions.
Finally, after each level there's a bonus stage in which you have to shoot down boulders. These bonus stages get harder and more rewarding the further you get. Besides giving you a chance to improve your score this minigame also offers a pleasant break in the regular gameplay.
On the more technical side, the graphics are (and have always been) dated but still extremely fluid and easy on the eyes. The background does get a bit annoying at times, but can be turned off (although in Windows the keyboard shortcuts don't always work). You control your paddle with the mouse and movement is very responsive. The musical score features midi-version of several famous pieces and ranges from quite bad to quite good. Sound effects are passable, but rare and not remarkable in any way.
The game does have its bad points: there are a couple of bugs that are rare but game-stopping. Vector-control feels somewhat constricted at times. Finally some of the levels aren't all that well designed. To redeem it a bit, the game features a built-in level editor. There's documentation on it in the game folder, should you be interested.
To conclude, this game is extremely addicting. As it expands on the original concept in a well thought-out way (also copying much from it's predecessors) the gameplay is both varied and interesting. A single level can provide for several gameplay experiences. The odd bug or boring level doesn't substantially degrade the gameplay, and as such I give it high marks and an recommendation. I hope you enjoy Turoid!
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