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BlackBerry Brick Breaker Strategy Guide / Walkthrough

November 6th, 2007 · 118 Comments

All about Brick Breaker

As the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360, and Sony Playstation 3 vie for sales in the “next generation” of console gaming – the Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry would seem to pale in comparison, if one were to look only at raw gaming power. Yet the BlackBerry has quite the fan base for a mobile device. In fact, some users refer to the device as a CrackBerry because of its addicting nature, however this is mainly because of its email and web features.

As BlackBerry users can attest, the game Brick Breaker, included by default, is itself an addicting game despite its 256 color, 2-D graphics and single-button game-play. This passion for Brick Breaker extends to the highest levels of corporate America – the CEO and Chairman of one of Wall Street’s largest investment banks had to have Brick Breaker uninstalled from his BlackBerry after finding it “too distracting”, only to have it put back on shortly after! His high score – about 16,000.

Basic Game Play

The premise of Brick Breaker, like the million other Breakout copy-cats for those who have been living in a cave for the last 35-plus years, is that bricks are arranged in a pattern at the top of the screen. The player controls a paddle that can move left and right. Players start with three lives.

The game begins when the player launches a ball towards the bricks. Each time the ball hits a brick it breaks the brick and deflects away. If the ball deflects back towards the paddle, the player must maneuver the paddle so that the ball will deflect back towards the bricks. If the player lets the ball fall past the paddle, a life is lost.

Bricks can take one or more hits to break, depending on the type of brick, as indicated by its color. Silver bricks are obstacles, and the ball cannot break them. Each direct hit to a brick is worth 10 points. The ball speeds up periodically as the game proceeds, however after a certain speed, the ball returns to its original slow speed. If the paddle and the ball strike each other a certain number of times, all bricks on the board shift down, although once the board shifts a certain distance down, it ceases to shift down further.

Occasionally, when a ball breaks a brick, a bonus pill will fall down vertically. If the player catches a pill, they receive 50 points and some game-play change. There are nine types of pills:

  • Bomb (ball) – the ball becomes a bomb. When it hits a brick, it will explode, breaking neighboring bricks.
  • Catch (paddle) – the ball sticks to the paddle when the player catches it. The player can then aim the ball back upwards, and launch the ball with the spacebar.
  • Flip – perhaps the most hated bonus pill in Brick Breaker, the flip pill inverts the controls such that left becomes right and vice versa. Catching any other pill returns the controls to normal.
  • Gun (paddle) – gives the player three missiles (“ammo”) which can be fired by the space button. Only one missile can appear on the screen at any time. If the missile breaks a brick, the player receives 50 points. Missiles can break silver bricks.
  • Large (paddle) – extends the paddle, making ball control slightly easier.
  • Laser (paddle) – gives the player the ability to shoot lasers by hitting the spacebar. Lasers fire from the left and right sides of the paddle. One direct laser hit is equivalent to one-half direct ball hit. So two laser hits are required to break a brick, and only 5 points are awarded per hit. Only two lasers fired per side can appear on the screen at any given time, for a maximum of four lasers on screen total.
  • Life (paddle) – gives the player an extra life, but resets the paddle to the basic paddle without any bonuses.
  • Multi (ball) – puts four balls in play. The player must only keep one ball in play at any time to continue play. If the player catches the multi pill while the ball is near the bottom of the screen, the balls reverse and launch upwards automatically.
  • Wrap – allows the player to move the paddle past the screen edges, onto the opposite side of the screen (in other words, wraps the left screen edge to the right edge and vice versa). The caveat with the wrap pill is that the paddle must move all the way past the edge of the screen before appearing on the other side.

Note that some pills affect the ball or paddle only. Catching one ball bonus after another ball bonus will cancel the first bonus, which is true for paddle bonuses also. However, ball and paddle pill bonuses can be in play simultaneously. So for example, if the player catches a Large pill followed by a Multi pill, they will have both a large paddle and multiple balls in play. If the player then catches a Bomb pill, they will still have a large paddle, but will only have one ball remaining in play.

Advanced Game Play

While Brick Breaker is extremely easy to learn, it is deceptively hard to beat. Few players ever reach the end of the game (which actually returns them to the beginning of the game, carrying over their points to the next round). The core strategy is obviously to gain the most points before all lives are lost. To achieve this, there are a number of sub-strategies to keep in mind during game play.

  • Learn to stay still. Move the paddle deliberately when you do move it. Also, set up the game to suit your style of play. The game options screen allows players to choose their paddle speeds and enable or disable paddle acceleration. Choose according to how you prefer the paddle to react.
  • Pick up all pills! At 50 points each, this is the easiest way to assure the most points are collected.
  • Beware the Flip pill. There is some controversy over taking the flip pill, as it can result in lost lives if the inverted controls confuse the player. Learn to deal with it, if possible, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Also, remember any pill will reset the flipped controls, so if a flip pill is in your reach, and another pill is following, try to grab both, even if you don’t feel comfortable with the flipped controls.
  • If you get a Gun pill, try to use your ammo before picking up another pill. Aim for silver bricks first – since these cannot be broken without the gun, this can result in an extra 150 points per Gun pill, not to mention it can help clear the board of unnecessary obstacles. If the board has no silver bricks, aim for bricks that are ready to break next, since they would otherwise be worth only 10 more points each.
  • If you get a Laser pill, learn to sweep the laser across the level as you play. Keep firing, even if you have no particular target. Clear out as many bricks as you can with the laser. Note that the laser does not penetrate silver bricks, which may leave some bricks in play even with skilled use of the laser.
  • Decide whether a life pill that is out of reach is worth grabbing anyway. Sometimes, it is possible to get the life pill or the ball, but not both. In this case, decide whether you have the rest of the level under control, and react accordingly. Taking the extra life nets you an extra fifty points and leaves you with the same number of remaining lives – provided you don’t lose any more lives.
  • Have a strategy for each level. The only way to develop this is through repeated game play. Some levels, notably including level 1, can be defeated without the ball ever returning to the paddle, depending on how the player launches the ball. For level 1, cast the first throw all the way to the right. Occasionally, this will result in an instant win. Don’t forget to grab the falling pills!
  • Level 16 is – hands down – the most difficult level in the game. Level 16 is a set of silver bricks, arranged in a “U” shape, filled with bricks of varying colors. The most obvious strategy is to simply get the ball into the “U” and have it break as many bricks as possible. This turns out to be quite difficult in practice, however, as the bricks shift down during game-play, eventually resulting in a one-brick sized margin between the paddle and the ball, making it virtually impossible to maintain any degree of control. The key here is to have ample lives to spare so that you can beat the board without keeping track of exactly how many balls are lost. Alternately, once the board shifts down one level, dropping the ball intentionally can stop the board from shifting down further – potentially saving lives for later boards.
  • Level 13 is also quite difficult for the same reason as level 16 – there is limited access to the bricks, but there are plenty of silver bricks. The level falls as the ball is played until the player is unable to manage the ball with only a brick or two of clearance. Again, intentionally allowing the ball to drain can help avoid this. Another strategy is to control the ball carefully as it returns down the left chute. Return the ball with the most oblique angle possible, trying to let the falling ball hit the left-most edge of the paddle. Typically, this will return the ball on the same trajectory, allowing it to clear more bricks.
  • Maximize your backlight timeout. This will drain your battery faster, but will prevent the screen from blanking during a crucial moment of game play.
  • Submit your high scores! Find out your rank and brag about it to your friends. If you don’t, no one will ever know how great you are at Brick Breaker.
  • Take a Brick Breaker break occasionally. If you take Brick Breaker too seriously, you may end up with no friends to call on your BlackBerry! Try to maintain a healthy balance.

Good luck, and happy brick breaking!

Tags: pwn3d! (Hacks and Tricks) · Skippy Stuff · Telephones

118 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Don // Aug 30, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Why does the game reset sometimes on its own? I see this posted over and over on here but it seems no one has an answer. You would think this would be an easy fix. Anyone had any luck with this?

    [Editor’s reply: Don, it’s probably the BlackBerry crashing. BlackBerry O/S is notoriously unstable when running multiple apps. Unfortunately I’m not really sure what you can do, perhaps besides limit which applications you are using.]

  • 2 Spike // Sep 11, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I am not alone! Oh boy how I can relate to all the frustration, foot jerking reaction and sheer torment of level 16. Stick in there gamers, I’m on level 118, at 1.9 million and 950 lives, I will reach 1000 lives then just concentrate on scores, but I will teach this sucker who is boss first! LOL

  • 3 Woody // Oct 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I can relate as well! I was at 1.7 million when my device reset on it’s own, had 1.5 million when it went totally belly up and I was issued a new Bold, have lost my score 4 times due to 3 resets (I actually elected to remove some programs to free up memory one time so that was self-inflicted) and I dropped it and the battery dropped out! The good thing is: the last two times this happened, I was able to immediately get through the game twice which gets you back to the Promise Land of easy points. I must say that at the level I’m at now (about 3 years of playing this game) level 13 doesn’t give me any trouble. The level I hate is the one (Iforget the number) where you have like five tiers of bricks and you’re hoping for a “catch” or “long” to come down especially before the frame starts dropping. This is a very simple game but there is some finese to it in order to get through all the levels twice. I have found myself getting better as a player when something does go wrong and I’m back at square one. That’s when the blood starts pumping and you sit on edge trying to get back to the Promise Land 🙂


  • 4 tejinder // Oct 24, 2010 at 3:29 am

    u know once i was playing i drained out alife at lvl 11 but! at the same time i completed lvl 11 so
    i played lvl 12 and 13
    in thelife box it was written life is zero plz lemmi know othe r instances also

  • 5 Goober // Nov 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Like most here I am a BB addict. I have a Curve 8900. I’m on my 3rd or 4th trip past round 2, as I have had reboots usually due to dropping the phone like everyone else. It takes me 6-12 months to get escape velocity again and survive past round 2. It seems you constantly have to relearn ball control because the track ball changes over time. I have a few issues that I don’t see people talking about so I’ll bring them up here.

    -It seems that the playing field is shifted to the left one or two pixels, as compared to my old BB7000 years ago. Because of this, the ball will occasionally “slink” up or down the right wall, past bricks etc. Sometimes this is helpful, but it usually is very unhelpful.
    -Where it shows my score I can only see 4 digits because the font size is too big to display the full score. So I can only guess what my score is now at 15x. The digits it shows are the middle 4 digits.
    -Compared to my old 7000, the game play on the 8900 is less smooth- the ball is a little jittery as it moves across the screen. This gave me headaches at first, but I’m used to it now. But the track ball is much better for playing than the 7000s track wheel (I never got past 2x until I got the 8900).
    -My phone seems to be slowing down and sometimes stalls for 5-10 seconds at a time. This often happens at just the wrong moment and can result in loss of lives.

  • 6 Karnika Kaushal // Nov 17, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Hi I am addicted to this game and play it atleast 4-5 hours a day (while travelling in the subway). I am playing a game right now, with a score of 93580 and i still have 50 lives to go… How can i submit my high score???

    [Editor’s reply: Unfortunately, you can’t submit your score until it’s over! This has frustrated many players in the past who’ve had insanely high scores, only to have their phone reset or their battery die, with their chance of a high score dying with it.]

  • 7 Faith // Dec 29, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Well, I am glad I read this I was beginning to believe I was the only one who just could not pass level 16. I have only passed it a couple times with the help of catch or gun. It is probably the worst when you get flip or something else stupid like that. Right now I am on level 11 with only 6 lives. But I haven’t lost any lives this whole game, how do all the rest of you people get like 60+ lives

  • 8 Galen // Jan 23, 2011 at 12:08 am

    My high score is 44850. That’s two and half times around… Yep, hopelessly addicted.

    [Editor’s reply: At scores below 1 million, there is still hope for you.]

  • 9 Maria // May 12, 2011 at 3:11 am

    This game is a cheat. U can start with 150 or 350. 150 score will be higher at end of 5 game. I have played approx 1000 games never gone through 2nd game. If score is high and lots of lives u will loose them in the all before end of 1st game. Low score with 3 or 4 lives will take u to the next game which is very fast and u loose out. As soon as u pickup a icon it goes full speed. U can all enjoy the game I can’ play cheating games

  • 10 Maria // May 12, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Hi me again, now I’m convinced that the game is rigged. Got to game 22 (15,750 score & 7 lives) in all the games I’ve played I only lost 1 life in that game now because score is high I loose 7 what a joke. Know u have some experts playing but consider the other millions

    Got to second level game 14 with 15 lives, and ewnt into no 16 with 2 live. Now that’s a joke. Only lost 2 lives from game 1-13 in 2nd round and then 15 in 3 levels ?????

  • 11 This week on TGIF: camp withdrawal, lasers and the merits of Teen Angel | Cassels Brock & Blogwell // May 25, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    […] fuhgeddaboutit. One thing I have learned: the best power-up in Brick Breaker by FAR is the Laser. By […]

  • 12 Animal // Aug 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Notice when you go through all the levels and it re-starts at level one, everything speeds up? Level 16 is like child’s play the first round, compared with the second round. A word of warning for all you who get frustrated, Blackberries don’t float!!!

    Another warning, this one health related! Sitting on the toilet for extended periods, can lead to hemorrhoids!!!!!

    [Editor’s reply: Remember to wash your hands after each level.]

  • 13 bipen // Sep 2, 2011 at 1:22 am

    i am at 200,000 and more and I have 31 lives. It looks like the game is never gonna end.

  • 14 Diana // Sep 4, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Level 16!!!!!!!!!!! eeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr lol How do u pass that level??? I passed it once and that’s it never again 🙁

  • 15 Augustine // Sep 5, 2011 at 1:12 am

    try to play level 16 by controlling the trackball within ur thumb that you can get good control of the paddle.

  • 16 Radhika // Oct 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    i love this game! i have 135 lifes and im at 640670!! addictive..

  • 17 Asad virk // Nov 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I am play this game every day and i am genious of this game…..

    [Editor’s reply: Alas, not of English.]

  • 18 vikizagadon // Nov 14, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Men! I really get pissed off, after scaling all through to level 16! It becomes so hard that all mine hard-gotten lives, jst goes with d wind, no matter how hard I try to maintain balance. It’s awful. Pls any better way to dodge that level 16?

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