Now, I know what you're thinking. "F--- yes¹, Q*Bert's momentum is still going strong after his appearance in Wreck-It Ralph
, the greatest anything in the history of everything. Here is a modern update that will do the original arcade game justice and also get me in with the JonTrons and the Jessie Rogerses of the world. We'll all go out together for strawberry malts and talk about how Square Enix be cray-cray."
But alas, it is with a heavy heart that I write this review. I, foolish squanderer of $5-something, am duty-bound to warn you that getting the attention of the JonTrons and the Jessie Rogerses of the world just isn't that simple. And also that Q*Bert: Rebooted
sort of capsizes itself in the modernization process.
If you dive in, Xbox 360 controller blazing, you'll notice pretty quickly that the game only kind of supports controllers. Rebooted
was clearly designed with mobile devices
the mouse in mind, as it's the only way you can navigate the menus and get anything done outside of the panel-hopping you so eagerly seek. The main event makes a strong case for going mouse-only; the analog stick is an option, but it's pretty janky. Simultaneously forgetful and unforgiving, the controls weren't above tossing me a cardinal increment off from the direction I pushed from time to time, making me miss an angled (more angled?) jump or outright tossing me into the abyss. Not even the included original version is spared from this madness. Home interpretations of the arcade game's controls have varied wildly over the years, but this one takes the cake. The bad cake with coconut shavings that gives you indigestion.
You know how to play Q*Bert
. The original game is that, but with bad controls. But the titular Rebooted half of the package? Hooboy. After jumping right in to the first world, all of which are dotted with three stars indicating objectives just like mobile games
, you'll be drip-fed the mechanics of the game, one per stage just like mobile games
, before being let loose to hop on panels and collect gems for unlocking such enticing character reskins as Q*Bert in Armor and Girl Q*Bert. When I say "let loose," I only mean until you hit a star wall and are forced to double back to clear more objectives in previous levels this was totally not a mobile port crapped out on Steam, why would you even think that
. It wouldn't hurt if the levels weren't so samey, from the plain background to the barely-different stages. It's an inherent part of the design of the source material, which was part of its charm (and possibly technological limitations at the time), but the simple design doesn't work at all in tandem with this gameplay structure, the most infamous of phone-ins for the illusion of replay value.
Sound-wise, the reboot is legitimately obnoxious. Everything that makes a noise just makes the one sound, a frankly impressive step down from the (small) variety the characters had to them in the original game 20+ years ago. The one short song that loops during all the stages plays Q*Bert's most famous exclamation (you know the one, it sounds like "ECKSFEEAHZEEDAYWAYAH") over and over again. No music at all would've been preferable.
It's a real shame the game turned out the way it is which, coincidentally, is how many mobile games turn out
; the modern Q*Bert is aesthetically pleasing, with cartoony jumping and death animations. They'd look great in a more vibrant world, one comprised of something even marginally more substantial than polygonal pyramids in black space. But for all the advances gaming has made since 1982, it seems poor Q*Bert's still doomed to be denied proper entry into such a world. Until he goes back and does it again with a faster time.
Someone, somewhere among the staff enjoyed having a hand in making this game. But I didn't enjoy playing it. And as for you? Don't let Rebooted
taint your feelings for the original. If you have a PS3, do yourself a favor and buy the arcade game on the Playstation Store. The controls are spot-on, and you can experience Q*Bert
in all its glory with a neat arcade marquee, instead of a sad mobile... fart bee.
¹or maybe should I say @!#?@! yes, like what Q*Bert says, ahahahahaha