Xbox Live isn’t exactly crawling with brick-breaking games at the moment. The only such game, 3D Brick Breaker Revolution (review), is ten kinds of terrible. Gamers looking for a Breakout-style fix have had to make do with indie games, such as IronSun StudiosIonBall, which we reviewed in December.

Great news for fans of that game and brick-breaking games in general – IonBall is getting a sequel, and it will be an Xbox Live title to boot.

Head past the break for more exclusive IonBall EX details and screens!

The new game’s official description:

IonBall EX is a modern twist on a classic Breakout style game, featuring an XP-based progression system and end-of-level bosses that are going to push you to the extreme, all delivered in a unique Steampunk style. With 35 challenging levels, mind-bending features and awesome bosses, IonBall EX is the breakout game to "break" all others. See where you can get on the leaderboard, or unlock Achievements like "Record Breaker" or "Wipeout” - the IonBall EX challenge is here.

But how does EX differ from its predecessor? For starters, the levels are all-new, except for the bosses. There are several new 'feature' bricks that affect the ball in unique ways: Teleport, Blade, Spinner, and Blower. The music has been updated as well (the original relied heavily on ambient sounds). And of course, the friends leaderboard and Xbox Live Achievements will greatly extend the life of the game.

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3D Brick Breaker Revolution featured some rather unsatisfactory controls. Thankfully IonBall EX does them much better. The default option, Slide, allows players to place a finger anywhere on the screen and then slide it left or right to steer the moving platform. By keeping your finger off to the side a bit, you can avoid obscuring the platform – very important. There’s also a Touch option that just moves the platform to whatever spot the player touches.

Left: The new feature bricks and controls. Right: Lots of powerups

Having spent some time with the original Xbox 360 IonBall, I’m really excited about this mobile sequel. Its retro-futuristic art design really stands out from similar games. The experience system, in which players earn experience from each level and apply it selectively towards upgrades, ties the game together quite addictively. Plus, it’s just fun to bust a few bricks and enemies with a ball and paddle.

IonBall EX will cost $2.99. The new game doesn’t have a release date yet as it’s still undergoing certification. But the original IonBall is available for $1.99 right now on Windows Phone (Zune link) and 240 Microsoft Points ($3) on Xbox 360. WPCentral will bring you more details as EX draws closer to release. 

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