Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Review: Rock Boshers DX Director's Cut (PS4/Vita)

Review Copy Supplied By Tikipod

In an alternative Steam Punk Universe, our very own Queen Victoria is an adventurous soul and finds her self on a adventure to Mars that turns into a living nightmare of soldiers, zombies and rocks.

Now that I have your attention, I can let you know that this is the setting for Tikipod's latest title, Rock Boshers DX Director's Cut.  I know it sounds bonkers but this is the same studio that brought us Aqua Kitty DX and I enjoyed that title, limited as it was.  The thing that is similar between both titles is that they have very retro game play.  Even the description for Rock Bosher DX explains that this is a retro 8bit experience that has been created to look, feel and sound like a ZX Spectrum game from the 80s.  It is safe to say that they have managed to achieve all of this!

Confession time - I have never loaded up a ZX Spectrum so I had to do a little research but I can confirm that the opening to Rock Boshers DX is true to the original loading sequence.  Right down to the two flashing colours in the background and the progressive loading of the screen.  So even at the title screen you are presented with some nostalgia.  The colour palette is very limited (15 colours I believe) and the art team has been very creative.  Items (including characters) have very distinctive colours and looks so you can easy spot what you are looking for or should avoid.

The game lures you into a false sense of security at the start by presenting very straight forward level designs.  The game screen is a top down view of a mine and you move in all directions around it.
The objective of each level is to get to the green lift which is situated in the level somewhere.  In between you and the lift are various obstacles.  This will be either rocks, turrets or various enemy types.  There are coloured keys that can be picked which unlocked the corresponding coloured door that helps you to progress to the level end.  You are armed with a weapon which can fire in eight directions and only travels for a limited number of pixels.  The only enemies that too have a weapon are the guards and like you are limited by travel distance.  The guards do have a mind of their own but it is not very advanced - once you enter their detection range they will come and attack you but if you get closer they will run away.  Another enemy type are the zombies and unlike the guards, they are pretty mindless.  They react by just following you and this can be used to your advantage as the zombies will attack guards.  Meaning you can guide zombies to a quick snack.

As you move on through the levels they become a lot more difficult and for me the thing which makes it hard is the hit detection.  Let me explain, as you already know this game is meant to feel like an old school game.  This is true down to the firing of weapons and movement.  It is also true for the hit detection.  You see, in modern games the hit detection is based upon your body.  If a bullet flies past your head it will not hit you - in this game the hit detection is a box all around you.  So if you are hit any where in the box you get hit.  This can prove to be a little difficulty in some of the future levels.

There are some levels where there is a spawning spot for zombies which cannot be destroyed and if you are not careful you will loose control of the level, making it very hard to complete without dying.
Rock Bosher DX is presented in three stages and at the end of each is a boss level.  These are just like the normal levels but whilst you are trying to work your way through the level you will be chased by a larger enemy that you cannot destroy.  The first section is a worm and all I will say it is like playing snake but you are the dots!

Like Aqua Kitty DX (and pretty much any arcade game), Rock Bosher can be very limited.  It is the difficulty which may add additonal time on to the game but you can get through the main levels in one or two sitting but personally I would spread it as some levels can become infuriating.
If you seriously want to torture yourself you can expand your gameplay but either beating the recommended time (seriously Tikipod, who set these times?) or by collecting the 72 snacks spreadout through out the levels.  Believe me, some of these can be tough to get to.  Do not worry though, upon collecting certain amounts of snacks results in the unlocking of 4 different bonus arcade games.

Rock Bosher DX is very true to ZX Spectrum games of time gone by.  Not only does it sound and look like them, it also plays like them.  I personally have not played a game from this console but I have played similar games from around that generation and they can be brutal.  Rock Bosher DX is a hard game and may shock you sometimes with how brutal it can be but it brings back to games what has been missing for a whole - you have to put a lot of practise in to even stand a chance of beating the game.  Some may find themselves having no issues with the difficulty but for me, it took a lot of practise to get past a few of the levels.  You could say, it is Rock Solid!


Who Should Play This?

  • Any gamer looking for a serious challenge
  • Gamers looking for that old school feel
  • Fun adventure seekers

Who Should NOT Play This?

  • If old school graphics offend you give this one a miss
  • Hate having to repeat a stage over and over again just to make a little progress
  • Not a fan of Indie and/or Arcade Games? Yea, this is both of them sorry

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