Apr 29, 2013
1984 was chock full of good stuff. Michael Jordan. The Mac commercial. Miami Vice. It was the year of the unforgettable Icon.
It was also the year of Boulder Dash. Y’all remember Rockford and his timed adventure hunting for diamonds. Well, Rockford is back in HeroCraft’s remade retro Boulder Dash-XL.
It’s always a challenge to redo favorites. A balance has to be struck between original elements and newfangled components. At first glance, however, I suspect the developer was able to navigate that treacherous road; I was able to pick it up immediately. The gameplay was all about mining; as the protagonist (Rockford or Crystal), I had to make it to the exit before time runs out. However, the exit was never initially open; to open it, I had to collect enough gems scattered around the playing area. Between me and the gems (and the exit) were plenty of obstacles. Some could be moved, some could be dissolved. The boulders, with nothing supporting them, could be deadly, so it behooved me to move quickly if I ended up underneath one with space for it to gather lethal momentum.
Further on in the game, there were monsters of different types that started appearing, roaming and reducing my life expectancy. To counter the tougher portions, there were also pickups I could burrow to.
To “solve” the puzzles, quick thinking was the name of the game. A false move could cause the gems to cascade to their destruction, meaning I would not get enough to unlock the door. I could use gems to attack monsters too, so there were opportunity costs to consider when making drilling decisions.
When you toss in the cool graphical touch-up (which matches console versions), it’s easy to like this game. Sharp graphics and subtle animations rounded out a game boasting five modes, ambidextrous touch controls and leaderboards.
All said, I thought it was an excellent reboot of a fantastic retro title.