Cheap Shot: Q*Bert Deluxe

One of yesteryear’s most iconic arcade relics has been resurrected for the iPhone public. Given the frequency of classic games showing up on the App Store, it’s no longer a surprise when a beloved old-school title pops up on the iPhone. This time, it’s Q*Bert Deluxe, an enhanced version of the game we all know and love.

Ye Olde Schoole.

For those of you that have lived off the grid over the past 25 years, here’s a quick brief on what Q*Bert is. The idea is to complete changing the color scheme on an isometric pyramid of cubes, using a cute orange creature. To make things difficult, a crew of mean-spirited baddies coordinate to stop your flow of bouncing around on the cubes. Each level introduces new landscapes to conquer, and the baddies grow in numbers and aggressiveness.

This is the first version of Q*Bert that uses touch or motion mechanics instead of a traditional joystick or digital controller. We were very concerned about this. Much like Pac-Man, the feel and rhythm of a joystick is important to achieving that instinctual Zen-like state required to play at a high level. While Q*Bert Deluxe controls competently with the touch-swipe mechanics, the tilt option disappointed with its response and accuracy. The efforts were commendable on the two control schemes, but we definitely missed having a traditional controller.

Along with unique iPhone-specific controls, Q*Bert Deluxe has a few additional cool extras. There are three different modes in the game. ‘Classic’ mode consists of a pixel perfect arcade port without any enhancements. A remixed and smoother looking version of Q*Bert can be found in the ‘Modern’ mode. The final and most interesting mode is the ‘Jungle’ mode, as it features a variety of new levels and uniquely designed jungle assets.

The future of Q*Bert Deluxe looks bright. The development team at Sony Pictures Television has set up a mobile microsite allowing you to vote on new DLC for the next update. Q*Bert heads owe it to themselves to jump on this at its reasonable $1.99 asking price. For core and casual gamers alike, there’s enough game here to justify Q*Bert Deluxe being a permanent fixture on anyone’s home screen.

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