Old-school Arkanoid action returns with a refreshing twist in Wizorb, now out on PC after appearing first as an Xbox Live Indie title. Turns out, classic arcade ball-and-paddle gameplay mixed with NES-era JRPG presentation makes for a happy, happy marriage.
There is a difference between ripping an idea off and taking something and making it your own. One need not look far in the video game business to see examples of developers, primarily in the mobile market, preying on and playing off the success of others or creating a general confusion amongst screen-tapping consumers to make way more money than they have a right to. Zynga’s – I’ll be polite and say – “reinvention” of Nimblebit’s Tiny Tower is a legitimate, legally distinct product, but it does raise questions of whether or not it is worth anyone’s time or money when the original is equally accessible on the platform.
An idea is not copyrightable, the expression of one is. This is a good thing because unlike the countless slew of rip-offs and rehashes of Arkanoid (which draws heavily from Atari’s Breakout, which is itself a single player variant of Pong), Wizorb manages to bring something new to the table. Something that would be lost to the public if it was possible to hold a monopoly on the idea of a game where a ball bounces off a paddle and destroys obstacles, as Wizorb would not then be able to exist (without a license from the ideaholder). Tribute Games’ fresh title offers classic gameplay and puts in enough context and character to make it worth playing even if you’ve already gotten a little sick of pounding virtual balls with a paddle.