Indie developer Aleksandr Solovyev has brought us and absolutely gorgeous modern take on the brick breaking genre for your iOS device. Impulse! is an arcade game with beautiful graphics and sound and innovation at the same time. Tap near the bottom of the screen to release the ball, then tap and swipe to move the paddle. If you need to pause, tap the top of the screen. Though the mechanics are basic the bricks are something different. They range in shape from your ordinary rectangles to circles, to hexagons, arranged in all sorts of clever designs, including a pool table and a space invader game. The game is free to try, with an in-app purchase to unlock it all!
You start with seven lives, and lose one if you miss the ball. If you run out, you can choose to either continue on the current level with a loss of points, or go back to the previous level and try again. If you care to use points to gloat to your friends about your high score, this can be a tough choice. If you're in it for a more casual experience, continuing is a no-brainer. You can also earn extra lives if you get enough points on a level. As you hit bricks, blue plus signs or red minus signs or can fall. Sometimes instead of exploding, bricks will fall with these hidden inside. You want to collect the pluses to spend on bonuses, and avoid minuses, as they give you any one of a number of bad effects, as well as cancelling any active bonus. At the top of the screen are listed the power ups you can currently afford, along with an indication of which one is currently active. Tap the center of the screen before or during the level to choose a power up. Be warned that if you do this during the game, that while it greatly slows down your game it doesn't pause it, so you need to choose relatively quickly.
While it is possible to pass each level without using bonuses (provided you don't lose all your lives), spending your pluses helps you pass levels more quickly and effectively, or just serve to change it up and keep things interesting. That being said, sometimes the bricks seem to take way too many hits before they break if you aren't using some sort of help. Luckily the plus dropping is fairly generous, so it's not too hard to replenish your supply so you can buy the laser sight to finally get that one last brick in the corner. The first few levels serve as a demo followed by a one time cost should you decide to purchase the whole game, so you can try before you buy. The zen-like atmosphere the music and sound effects provide offer a nice contrast to the franticness of the gameplay, and the controls work seamlessly. So plug in your ear buds and start breaking some beautiful bricks.