Review by Rob Roberts

Game Review: Q*Bert Rebooted

Game Review: Q*Bert Rebooted

As a child of the 80s, I certainly have a soft spot for the arcade games of my youth. I don't mind seeing a retro classic be re-imagined, as sometimes these re-imaginings use the technology of 21st century gaming to give new experiences and features to the games of my youth. Pac-Man Vs. on the Gamecube was an excellent spin on the equation, as was Pac Man CE years later. Space Invaders Extreme brought a techno and graphical infusion to a shooter that had inspired so many games before it.

This month, we received another 80s re-imagining in the form of Q*Bert Rebooted. I think Q*Bert is sometimes overlooked when we reflect on the great video game franchises of the 80s. The mostly diagonal controls of the game actually made it a little challenging to port to some systems in the 80s (the Commodore 64 version I owned growing up actually encouraged you to tilt the joystick at a 45 degree angle to properly control). I loved the simplicity of the game though, and the way the movement really snapped in the game. Each second that goes by in the game feels like a round where you have to quickly consider what cube is best to jump to next. In later rounds when you have to change blocks multiple colors and can even undo your changes by stepping on the same block twice, it's like trying to solve a logic puzzle. Oh and meanwhile, for every hop you take, the enemies on the board will hop too. The red marbles will go down, the purple beasts will go side to side and Coily, he will take the most direct route to you.

In Q*Bert Rebooted, we are offered two versions of Q*Bert, the first being a port of the classic 1982 arcade game. Unlike most officially emulated classic arcade games, you are unable to change any of the original ROM board settings. So you are stuck with the difficulty and lives per "quarter" modes selected for you. There's no online leaderboards or any other frills. I suppose there is a trophy you can unlock if you can clear Round 5. Note that doesn't mean board number 5, it means Round 5. It's not easy. For the scenario we are given to emulate though, the game plays as well as i remember. Controls feel snappy with the gamepad, and I had fun for a few quarters worth of play thrus. Those few quarters of fun were about all the fun I had with Q*Bert Rebooted.

The second version of Q*Bert offered in this collection is the namesake of Q*Bert Rebooted. In a twist perhaps inspired by Civilization V, the square shapes of the old board are now hexagon shapes, allowing for boards in new patterns. When I first heard about the change, I thought it was an interesting twist to shake up the old formula and I was looking forward to playing it. Too bad I didn't realize that having six directions to hop in would make the controls more complicated. The thumbstick is an absolute joke to attempt to play with. You will find yourself hopping off the board more times than you intended if you attempt to play with the thumbstick. This leaves using the D-pad to control, which at least will leave your controls slightly more accurate, but it doesn't fix the biggest problem of all with Q*Bert Rebooted. That problem is that where Q*Bert Classic snapped with the controls, Q*Bert Rebooted is a muddy slog. Q*Bert kind of glides from space to space on the board, and the game is not better for it.

For some inexplicable reason, lives in the game are replaced with a heart meter. This means that although falling off the board will still have the same effect of falling to your doom and starting from where you left off, but getting hit by an enemy will cause you to just keep right on going without the hard stop to see Q*Bert swearing that we are used to in the original. In one playthru of the game, I was bit by Coily as I hopped onto a flying disc, causing the "dying" animation to appear on the disc as I floated back to the top of the screen, now having lost both a heart and my flying disc. I didn't understand the reason for this at all, as these changes are never really explained via any sort of story or splash screen it's just "Surprise, we changed a lot of stuff you remember about Q*bert because we CAN!". I'm fine with the hexagon board change, but I'm not okay with the muddying of the controls, the way the heart meter feels inconsistent and graphics so obscenely simple the game screams "this is just a port of the mobile phone version!" 

I could go on some more about how although three possible stars for three different achievements are available in a level, although you have to go back and achieve each star one at a time. I could talk about how that we are now in an ultra-social era of gaming with this generation of consoles, yet Q*Bert offers no leaderboards, no multiplayer, no "competition" functionality of any sorts. You can collect gems on the boards to unlock different Q*Bert skins, including Q*Bertha because, well, you can, I guess.

You don't really need to hear it all though, Q*Bert Rebooted is just a bad game that commits the worst crime of all in the re-imagining of a classic- it takes the game a few steps backwards instead of forwards.

Acquisition Method: Paid $6.99 for the retail release on a Playstation 4.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • For the fixed settings you can play in the classic mode, it's a competent emulation that's fun to revisit a couple times. Bummer you can't change anything in the emulation like you could in say, Capcom's arcade collection on the PS3.
The Bad:
  • Literally everything else, from sloppy as sin controls in the new mode that have a completely different flow from the classic game, to uninspired graphics to gameplay that brings nothing new in this era of the Playstation 4.

Rob Roberts, AKA Skie, is one of the co-hosts of Orange Lounge Radio here on the VOG Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @MrRobRoberts

Review by - 3/4/2015 11:31 AM353 views

Your Responses


Grade: B
Here's the thing.... I tend to ignore the "rebooted" part of the game. Come to think of it, I have not fired that part up even once since buying the title, so that part of the game I have no opinion about. In as far as the original game, I love it. It's fun to fire up whenever I feel nostalgic & wanna relive the golden age of the arcade. The fact that I can't adjust settings really doesn't faze me & I consider it a non-issue. All that being said, my grade is for the "original" game part only

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