The dingy pit. The smell of older kids smoking in alley. The sounds of coins being tossed into the slot. Ahhh, the good old arcade days, where the heart will always be, and where years of pocket money will always remain. My hair was black, not “blask-ish grey” as it is now. I had no phone. There were no distractions, just the games.
It seems Sideline Amusements and Gonzo Games remember those good old says. They’ve gone and resuscitated Q*bert in the form of the downloadable game Q*bert Rebooted. It’s a game that seems to completely ignore the past couple of decades and the development of game design, and for that we say, “Hell yeah!”
B*Bert rebooted offers both the classic game itself and Q*bert: Rebooted. Both are similar, you jump on blocks and they change colour. Change the colour of all the blocks and the level’s complete. Simple, pure, retro goodness. Through in a few enemies and you’ve got all the complexity you need. Sadly, the classic version here isn’t quite as good as the original (but really, the original of anything is always the best, right?). Still, the gameplay is excellent and it definitely will put a smile on the face of nostalgic old gamers like me.
Then there’s Q*bert: Rebooted. With this, you get the same old game but with 3D graphics and some new enemies and sound effects. You’ll get five lives too and they’re all given back to you at the start of a new level. Basically, it’s the friendly version of Q*bert (which was a very challenging and unforgiving game).
I’m happy to say that the design of the levels has remained faithful to the original. You’ll be able to earn three gold stars on each level and these are used to unlock later levels (of which there are thirty-six in total).
There is a slight flaw in the way you earn the gold stars. You essentially have to play through every level three times because you won’t be given all three stars at once no matter how well you play. This can feel a tad repetitive, but it’s only a minor inconvenience. On top of the gold stars there’s also gems that you can collect. These give you access to alternative skins and also produce different sound effects. It’s a nice little dash of icing on top of the cake.
Q*Bert Rebooted: As tasty as cake to OGs like me
To control Q*bert you have to hold your finger on the screen and move the character (like mouse controls). This can be a little difficult and at times irritating. It’s definitely not the most intuitive control scheme ever devised. There’s controller support but it’s not much better (it’s highly limited).
The audio is also somewhat limited. There are only a couple of tracks and some of the sound effects are more irritating than anything else.
Ultimately, opinions on Q*bert rebooted are going to be mixed. On the one hand, it’s a faithful recreation of the original. But it doesn’t do much to take the game in new directions and it can feel a little dated.
I’ve got to give Q*bert 8.1. I loved the original and I can enjoy this equally, but at the same time, a little ingenuity in game design would have been appreciated.