Alleyway is a video game for the Game Boy. It was developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo in 1989. It is a classic Breakout-style game that requires the player to delete all of the blocks above, without allowing his or her ball to go below the paddle. The boxart shows Mario controlling the paddle.
Alleyway was re-released on the Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console in 2011.
Title and intro cinematic.
The goal of the game is that the player must control the paddle to break all the remaining bricks in the playfield by using a ball. When the player successfully breaks the breakable bricks, the player moves onto the next level. In the next level, there is the same block structure as from the previous level. The main difference is that there are three different types of gimmicks that make the levels challenging, though using the same level.
- Gimmick 1: Nothing at all. The bricks simply stay in place.
- Gimmick 2: The rows of bricks move either left or right depending on the level the player is in.
- Gimmick 3: The rows of bricks push down towards the paddle after a few bricks are destroyed. Additionally, the top of the screen will sometimes either reveal more bricks for the player to destroy with the same brick pattern; or the steel bricks the player cannot break.
Every fourth round the player goes into a Bonus level; the bonus level feature various sprite pieces from the Super Mario Bros. Here is a list of bonus levels that contain objects related to the Mario series.
Additionally in the bonus level, the ball can destroy the bricks without bumping around the playfield; also there is a timer that contains 99 game seconds. If the player destroys all the bricks before the timer runs out, the player gains bonus points. After the bonus level ends, the rounds repeat, but with a new set of bricks.
Description from Nintendo eShop
Originally released at the launch of the Game Boy, Alleyway is a fondly remembered update to the classic ‘bat and ball’ style of games.
The aim is simple: survive and rack up a huge high score! Take control of the paddle and deflect the ball to break the blocks, but don’t let it drop. Break all the blocks to move onto the next of 32 challenging stages.
It starts out simple but later levels introduce walls of blocks that move horizontally or vertically. You can also enjoy bonus stages where the aim is to break as many blocks as possible within the time limit.
Alleyway did sell well during its production run, but it was not released as a "Player's Choice" title, and the reviews have been mostly mixed to negative.
Mean Machines gave the game a 33/100%, and they criticized the game's repetitiveness and they stated "this variant doesn't have much more to offer than the original Breakout". They also added "once you've finished a couple of screens, you'll be bored stiff." They also compared it to Arkanoid, and regarded a lack of power-ups in the game.
4 reviewers from Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game scores of 6/10, 6/10, 5/10, and 3/10. All of them compared it to Arkanoid, and they complained about the lack of enhancement over the Breakout format. However, two reviewers who gave the game a 6/10 said it was perfectly designed for the game boy, and one of them added that "it's also a very good game that combines some new features ... with the original Break-Out theme," and they concluded with the game being good, but a bit long.