By: Jeff Cater
Rock Boshers DX: Director’s Cut by TikiPOD feels like a game you would find in a smoke filled arcade in the mid 1980s, both in presentation and gameplay. As Queen Victoria you must escape the fate of becoming a zombie slave on Mars, by any means necessary. Even if that means collecting scones and tea!
Moving the Queen is done with the left stick or the d-pad, with the latter being the more reliable of the two. Your two shoulder buttons handle weapon swapping ,and firing is octodirectional with the right stick. With the dead zone of the right stick being a little off in Rock Boshers DX, I think the developers missed a chance to allow the players to use the face buttons to fire as an option as the stick can (and will) lead to a lot of misfire and ultimately your demise.
Rock Boshers DX has a very distinct visual style, as it takes after the old ZX Spectrum era of arcade gaming. The game features a whopping 15 different colors (!!!), but damn they’re used well. It quickly becomes easy to distinguish certain enemy and other threat types simply by their color, as does navigating the Martian labyrinths by using your knowledge of the game’s color palette to figure out how to destroy a specific obstacle type or bypass a door. Most animated features of the game have just about two or three frames of animation a piece, which further creates that old arcadey vibe.
TikiPOD wouldn’t have had completed the vision for their game unless they went all out on the soundtrack, so they did. The chiptunes in the game are highly enjoyable, and are repetitive in the way that just fuels the addictive gameplay. The sound effects are also very appropriately limited in variety, but they all serve their purpose perfectly and help bring familiarity to your environment.
Simply put, Rock Boshers DX would have eaten a ton of my quarters in the arcades. Not only is the narration of the game (via blurbs of text from some of the neutral parties) quick and to the point, but it’s often chuckle inducing. The light-hearted action of hunting down tea and scones also brings a funny shade to this otherwise dark, spacey tale.
As Queen Victoria, you are to navigate the Martian mines to liberate other slaves and escape home. A variety of weapons will aid you on your expedition, but you’ll have to rely on your wits just as heavily as your firepower.
From hunting down color-coded keycards to tricking homing missiles into blasting a pathway open for you, Rock Boshers DX awards quick thinking over all else — many missions will cause you to retry, whether it is because a drill truck smeared you into the red dirt or you fell victim to a gun turret.
The game also features a four-player adversarial Battle mode that I was unfortunately not able to try with a full four people, but in addition to Queen Victoria you may select Charles Darwin as your character, which was just awesome.
Rock Boshers DX: Director’s Cut might not be for everyone, but those that used to stand for hours at an arcade cabinet will get some definite kicks out of it. TikiPOD seems to remember those days fondly, and they did a damn fine job bringing that experience to our homes.