As I played through the first few levels of Viral's new Facebook brick-breaking game, Robie, I was annoyed by the game's assumption that there was anything about the genre I was unaware of that would require interrupting my play for a tutorial. Then I learned how to bend the ball to my will.

There must have been Breakout-style games that allowed players to generate a gravitational pull on the ball via the paddle in the past, but I've not played any of them. At any point during play I can hit the right mouse button and draw the ball towards my paddle, adjusting the arc of the bouncing projectile at will. It's a nifty little mechanic, one that I would have missed out on completely had Viral let me skip the tutorials altogether.

Along with its collection of inventive power-ups and sheer variety, the bending gives Robie a unique feel. It's got an energy-based play limit, which I could do without, but other than that it's certainly an entertaining tool for whiling away the day hitting things into other things with things.

Robie [Facebook]