I should preface this review by saying I never played the original Q*bert as a kid. However, as an adult, I have become a huge fan of classic rock, movies, and video games. I was excited to boot this game up, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the game includes the original version! I spent two hours in my first sit down playing this game. Needless to say, it is addicting!
On startup the game asks you to decide between Q*bert and Q*bert Rebooted, and the screen animation shows Q*bert bouncing between the two worlds with the classic “bounce” noise from the original. I started with the original, which takes you into an empty room with the stand up cabinet arcade version of the game. You press start and the screen turns into the classic arcade screen. You get one screen telling you the basics of the game very quickly, but it doesn’t seem to have translated well from a joystick and one button to an Xbox One controller. I had some issues with jumping off the edge before I decided to try the reboot. I fully admit that that could easily be user error and not the game.
The new game is laid out a lot different, and has a bit better explanation of the controls, but it still takes some feeling around to get the hang of it. There is a path of levels you progress through and each level has a number of sublevels, as well as a bonus level. There are gems you can pick up in each level that you collect to unlock different versions of Q*bert. Some of my favorites include Zom*bert, Q*nicorn, Q*tankhamen, and Dra*Q*la. You also gain a star rating for each level, like many mobile games out today. The bonus level has no monsters and a handful of gems for you to pick up, but you have a five second time limit. Going from hex to hex quickly without going over the edge is a challenge, but an enjoyable one you can pick up pretty quickly. The reboot introduces you to the game play a lot better since it uses a level build. The game adds in quite a few little unique features that keep you saying “one more level”. This may sound like “hand holding”, and maybe it is just personal preference, but I like the way the game shows you what its all about.
The point of the game is simple; flip the color of all the hexes on the level. Once you get the hang of bouncing from hex to hex without flying out in to space the game adds in different monsters with different abilities, all of which will cost you a life if you land on the same hex as them, and that is when the game gets really entertaining. The game gradually introduces monsters as simple as a bouncing red ball that you just need to avoid to an alien (I assume that’s what they are) in sunglasses named Slick, who will change the color of each hex it lands on, undoing your hard work. As you progress down the level path the levels start to have a few less hexes as well as adding in more baddies to keep you on your toes. I really like the way this game gradually increases the difficulty. It feels reasonable and it is set at the perfect pace.
The music in the game is different depending on which version you play, of course. The original is the original. The new is a bit odd. It ranges from piano scores to the electronica you’d expect from a flashy game that takes place in outer space. Although the piano seems out of place at first, it grows on you. All the tunes are perky and perfect for a very colorful, fun game. The sound effects, the bouncing, dying, and dinging noises, all sound like polished, non-MIDI versions of the original, nothing changed.
The graphics on either version of the game are fantastic for an arcade game. When the screen turns to that original pixelated little orange guy jumping around its hard not to get giddy. While I was a bit young to play this game in the arcade I have spent many, many afternoons at the arcade spending away my allowance, and this brought me right back to those good ol’ days. The new one has a lot of bright, flashing colors on a back drop of outer space and it looks great. Even the enemies are brightly colored.
I have a friend that played the original so I asked him to check this game out. After playing for just a few minutes he confirmed that the original in this game is the same as the arcade version in the cabinet. He also really enjoyed the reboot. We all know reboots can go horribly wrong, so it was nice to learn that this game kept the Q*bert name alive. Though Q*bert and Q*bert Rebooted are quite a bit different I definitely feel like this is an excellent reboot of a very classic game loved by many.
The Final Verdict: 9/10
+ Perfect reboot
+ Gives younger players the chance to play the original in its true form
– Controls need improvement