Strikey Sisters Review
Magical Brick Breaking Fun
Cute witches with some neat powers inject some added danger and fun into the block breaker genre with Strikey Sisters. With swiping attacks that give better ball control, enemies to keep you busy as the ball does its work on the upper screen, and some magical powers to change things up, Strikey Sisters makes for frantic entertainment.
A pair of witches find their pet’s been stolen by Lord Vanik’s minions, and they intend to get the beloved animal back. Very slowly. By breaking down breaks by bouncing a magical ball at them. Look, it doesn’t have to make sense. Just go with it.
Strikey Sisters gives you many varied stages over a handful of themed areas. They provide a great deal of visual variety, from forests to ruins to cities, which is a nice addition when your main task is just bouncing a ball around to crush bricks. However, Strikey Sisters also throws enemies into the mix, having a variety of unique foes with their own attacks in each area, adding onto the challenge and appealing new looks for each location.
Enemies make a huge difference for this game, because honestly, most of the time the ball will be bouncing around the top of the screen, trying to nail those last few remaining blocks, in every stage. There is always a point after the first few minutes where you only have a handful of blocks left to hit, and you’re left to launch the ball up there, praying they get hit. Without enemies, the game would just be a lot of dull waiting.
Enemies jazz things up, though. For starters, they have a variety of ranged attacks that you need to make your character dodge (the one who’s normally volleying the ball back). This means that you have to keep her out of danger while still keeping your ball in play, which can require some very specific maneuvering since you can only shuffle side-to-side. It adds a little intensity to play, and gives you more dangers to watch out for. Sometimes a lot more. It also means you have to split your attention, keeping play from just being about watching the ball. Finally, it gives you something to do while the ball is out doing its thing.
A couple more things also make the challenge a little more interesting. You only have three lives to complete a stage, so three hits from enemies or balls that fly past you mean repeating everything all over again, forcing you to take care (although you have as many continues as you want). Also, when a brick breaks, it drops a coin down the screen that you can collect. Getting 100% coins on a stage adds an extreme challenge, as you have to be able to move precisely in order to catch every coin, dodge every foe, and keep your ball in play. It gives something for highly skilled players to shoot for, providing fun for people who just can’t get enough of the game.
You do get a bit of a break with the game’s magical power-ups. When an enemy is killed, it will drop one of an array of different powers, which will float down the screen. Catch it, and you get one shot that will freeze all enemies, launch bombs at them, fire an array of magical balls, or hurl a huge fireball up the screen. Many of these shots will kill multiple enemies or let you hit hard-to-reach bricks, making them a huge boon when you get them. They also balance out the fact that enemies respawn indefinitely until all the bricks are gone, constantly giving you a little edge as you work to finish each stage.
You also get a bit of a break from the twin playable sisters. They do a swiping attack, rather than just give you a stationary paddle, so skilled players will eventually learn how to line up the arc of their swing to give them a great deal of ball control. It can vary greatly while you’re getting used to it, but within an hour or two, you’ll be pulling off some well-aimed shots with relative ease.
All of these elements come together for some tight brick smashing play. Enemies keep the player moving and distracted as the ball floats around, creating moments of panic when you have to rush across the screen to keep a ball going. The power ups can save you here, blasting through foes (or just cleaning out those extra bricks) and keeping you in play. Careful swipes can help take out those last bricks, but should you miss, you still have foes coming your way to keep you occupied, rather than just have you watching a ball bounce. It’s a great mixture that makes for a lot of fun.
Bosses add an even further challenge. These creatures take a ton of hits to take down, and utilize their own powerful attacks that work far differently, or more aggressively, than most enemies. Their abilities can send crushing waves of stone at the player or seeking waves of sharp objects, forcing players to really work on their dodging or attacking (that ball-bouncing swipe also acts as a melee attack).
“Strikey Sisters does a lot of work to jazz up the brick breaker formula[…]”
That being said, most of the bosses tend to wear out their welcome fast. They repeat a little quip every time they attack, and they do so often, making the audio get a little annoying. Also, they can reflect back hits that come at them from the front, so you have to very carefully angle your shots around the room, which can be really time-consuming with the boss moving around, and even moreso once you empty out all the breakable bricks. As they have a ton of health, expect to do this for a while, turning each fight into a plodding battle of attrition that you can lose very quickly.
And honestly, many regular areas can get this way as well. As the last few bricks lie at the top of the screen in weird positions, you’ll find yourself firing shots up there, desperate to hit them. Even if you’re a very good shot, the moving enemies can just ping your ball in another direction with one poorly-timed movement, so despite the developers’ best efforts, you do still spend a lot of time just flinging a ball around the room while accomplishing nothing. Granted, enemies and powers help this a bit, but they just don’t completely cure the problem.
Strikey Sisters does a lot of work to jazz up the brick breaker formula, and while it doesn’t always quite make it as exciting as it wants to, it’s still a solid game that makes breaking walls very exciting. Plus, cute witches make everything better.