Many video games can be broken down into one of two types: there is the kind you can sit back and just relax with as you enjoy seeing what the game has to offer, and then you have the kind where you must be at attention as long as the game is in play, on the edge of your seat, ready for anything. QuBIT seems to fall into the latter category, though it seems to be due more to its controls than by design.
The premise is simple: you take the eponymous QuBIT mining robot down to the surface of a planet, where it races along, smashing through differently-colored crystals to give energy to the QuBs which orbit the robot. The more crystals you smash in a row, the more bonus point multipliers you get. Smash crystal sets of different colors in the right sequence, and you get more points. And along the way, QuBIT is burning up fuel, thus necessitating you find and ride along energy streams.
I knew those mushrooms didn’t taste right…
Plus, the further you go, more different-colored QuBs join you from the Mother Ship to collect the energy of the new colors of crystal which pop up along the way. And if you take too long, the crystals will lose their energy before you can smash them, leaving you to take damage from them instead. Take too much damage or run out of energy, and the Mother Ship beams you back up. In true old-school arcade fashion, the overall goal is to keep collecting energy so you can get as far as you can, and then try to top that the next time.
While the graphics, sound, and theme are all fun, the one problem we had was with the controls. There are four types, and you can control their sensitivity. QuBIT moves along automatically, leaving you to steer by either tilting the iPhone, using one of two on-screen sliders, or a two-button system composed of a left and a right button on their respective sides of the screen. All control schemes have you touch the center in order to boost QuBIT along and ride the energy streams.
Even after adjusting the sensitivity, though, the latter three control schemes just didn’t seem to work very well. The ideal way to control it is through the tilt controls, but unfortunately these tend to be a bit less responsive than the game requires. Simply put: this was not a game you can just lie back and play, because it throws the accelerometer off, and we saw no way to calibrate it. As a result, this is very much a frantic “sit up and play” type of game, which can be problematic if you just want to relax.
It might be argued that the iPhone is not the ideal place for QuBIT; one could easily imagine it working as well or better on a dedicated gaming platform like the Wii, PlayStation 3, or Nintendo 3DS, or even the Xbox 360. On the other hand, if always sitting at attention as you play, and you like the quick-reaction gameplay, then this game is definitely worth checking out.