Q*Bert is always one of those games I remember playing when I was very young. To date myself here, I would often play the original on an old knob TV and a trusty Atari 2600 to pass the time when visiting extended family. Playing Q*Bert along with other games on those systems was somewhat of a pastime for me.
If you don’t know who or what Q*Bert is, well, he’s one of those classic gaming characters that lives on as sort of an icon in today’s popular culture. Developed by Gottlieb in the 1980s, Q*Bert was designed as an isometric action puzzle game made up of numerous stages. Considered a part of the golden age of the arcade, the original was widely popular – enough to spawn several ports and sequels.
A Classic Revived
Today, the game’s been revived and brought to the modern age on PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 courtesy of LOOT Entertainment as a digital release called Q*Bert: Rebooted. Available across all three platforms as a cross-play title, Q*Bert: Rebooted comes packaged as a double feature – allowing fans who prefer a taste of nostalgia, or the re-imagined version sporting updated visuals and a 3D look.
QBert PS4 Review - Classic Revisited
Right from the game’s main menu, you’re given the option to select between Q*Bert classic and Q*Bert: Rebooted. Either selection takes you immediately into your chosen version, however, it’s just as easy to back right out and select the other should you so desire.
The classic mode is about what you would expect. Rendered in basic pixel graphics, Q*Bert sits atop a mountain of 8-bit isometric cubes framed by a bit of retro artwork. Instead of an arcade stick or joystick, you can control Q*Bert with the analog sticks on the DualShock controller or the right stick on the Vita version. Classic mode is essentially a straight port and contains all the jumping snakes, rolling balls and intense difficulty I remember as a kid.
A Whole New Look
The Rebooted version of the game has been updated in more ways than one. In addition to an improved and more colorful visual style, Q*Bert: Rebooted uses hexagon shapes to create its maps which aids in creating more challenge and more variety in its puzzles and play style. All of the enemies and characters have been updated with 3D models as well, giving them a smooth cartoon look.
The layout of this new version is different from the original as it introduces levels on a visible path, each with a set of objectives to complete. Not only can you complete the level to earn credit, but you can also beat it under a certain time stamp, and by scoring a set number of points. You also have the ability to collect gems throughout each stage and an additional bonus stage which can be used to unlock other characters if you’d rather look at someone besides Q*Bert. These bonuses are encouraging little goals that allow for greater replay value despite their simplicity but also become necessary later in the game.
It’s a Collect-athon
Upon completing each level’s objective, you’ll earn a star which are needed to advance further. The only downside is it’s somewhat difficulty to complete more than one objective when you’re in the level – often times you’ll need to get the hang of the puzzle before going back in and trying to snag one of the other goals. The motivation for this, I found somewhat lacking as many of the levels did end up a little too similar to each other.
Q*Bert: Rebooted’s visuals are fairly basic. The game actually runs the same across all three platforms – although I did notice the Vita version suffered a bit from longer load times than its console brethren. While it’s not the most technical game out there, the presentation gets the job done and doesn’t stray too far from its classic roots.
It’s easy to recommend Q*Bert: Rebooted to both returning fans and new ones alike. The PlayStation release allows for choice of play either in its classic mode or the more modern version for those who want something a little easier on the eyes. The additional challenges in the Rebooted mode do provide some extra game time, but if you’re looking for something a little deeper this isn’t quite it. Q*Bert: Rebooted may be a simple game from another era, but its pick-up and play nature can certainly still be relevant today.
Review copy was provided by the publisher. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.