Remastered and rebooted games seem to be more frequent than ever and we are getting the chance to go back and play various titles from years gone by. Q*Bert is a character that was hugely popular many years ago and has now been rebooted for the current generation.
Q*Bert REBOOTED: The XBOX One @!#?@! Edition returns in a brand new form along with the original game. Q*Bert comes from a period in time when arcading gaming was all the rage and nowadays we see more and more games that harken back to old school games, whether its side-scrolling platformers or retro style shooters.
Q*Bert is known for its simple controls and straightforward objective. You play as a strange orange creature known as Q*Bert, who you move around a pyramid like structure from an isometric perspective. In this edition of the game it actually contains two versions of Q*Bert. You can play the original title that still plays well and has real charm. The new version certainly looks visually impressive but has a changed a couple of things. The squares have now been replaced with hexagonal blocks. When you start each stage you are dropped at the top of the structure with the objective being to change the colour of every block by jumping on them. You have to figure out the correct path in order to successfully complete the stage without falling off the edge or colliding with the game’s several enemies to earn higher scores.
I started by refreshing my memory by playing the original version and then tried out the brand new game. The first thing I noticed was the difference in difficulty between the two games. The new version is certainly a lot easier and doesn’t challenge you as much as the original. In the original game the level structure was set out in a very linear fashion but you can now revisit and replay previous levels to beat your previous score. I actually liked the ability to try to improve on previous runs and this addition of the score system. Another change is that instead of three lives to get through the game, you now have five lives per level, but you play each level three times before you can move on to the next.
You can score 3 stars in each level which are determined by different factors, from finishing the level in a set time to racking up a specific score. This is a nice idea but unfortunatly it does have its issues. You can only obtain one star per run, meaning you have to go back and replay stages multiple times if you want to get them all. Each stage has three sub-levels to complete before you get the opportunity to try to collect as many bonus jewels as possible on the bonus stage. You can use these to purchase an assortment of characters which don’t do anything besides change the way Q*Bert looks. There are plenty of stages and challenges to progress through and they can be very satisfying to beat.
The visual presentation of the new version certainly looks great with a vibrant and colourful layout. I also noticed that the structure itself is a touch smaller than in the original, making your objective easier. The squares are bigger and there are only 15 of them, as opposed to the original 28. You jump from block to block changing the colours as you go, sometimes having to jump multiple times on the same block in order to reach the correct colour. You get 5 lives in the game and move around using the left analogue stick.
I had some difficulty accurately navigating Q*Bert around as the controls didn’t feel as precise as it needs to be. The original game is very challenging at times, but it helped that the controls felt responsive. I often found that I would die too often in the new version simply because of the poor controls. Q*Bert himself is well animated and still has a quirky charm about him (or her?!). After playing a while, you’ll get bored of the setting and this could have been improved by putting different backdrops or implementing new visual features for each level.
Overall the package as a whole is enjoyable enough and having the chance to go back and play the original game provides a nice nostalgic kick. It’s a shame that the new version doesn’t feel as satisfying or control as well but I did appreciate the improved visuals. I also respect the fact that the developers have at least tried to modernize the game with some fresh ideas and new layout. I still prefer the original version, but by having both titles in one package gives it enough reason to give it a go.
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