While games like Hotline Miami and Retro City Rampage have done a damn fine job of taking you back to your gaming roots, none have teleported you to an era that replicates the days of ZX Spectrum. This is precise down to the exact loading screens, complete with flashing boarders and alien like ear scratching tones. Developers Tikipod have totally nailed the whole Spectrum 80’s vibe. The only element missing being the cold flesh like keypad and the occasional error loading screen – thankfully, these are things we can live without. Due to this this awesome retroness, newcomers to gaming may be scratching their heads upon first glance. Meanwhile, other ‘mature’ gamers will suddenly be dreaming they are 30 years younger complete with a soppy smile on the face.
Rock Boshers DX is a twin stick shooter with a top down view and has a brilliant yet ridiculous plot. You play as royalty (a British Queen in fact), whose regal lifestyle has become a tad mundane. You see beheadings, arranged marriages and robbing the poor can become rather tiresome, so in search of a new adventure she boards a rocket bound for the red planet, Mars. Here the adventure turns sour, as the Queen is captured and enslaved to boshing rocks. The only way out of this Groundhog Day like existance is finding keys and unlocking a path to freedom.
It’s a blocky maze ahead of you that despite the lack of detail (true to games back in the day), Rock Boshers DX shows and displays all you need to know clearly. If you’ve played ZX Spectrum games like Atic Atac and Sabre Wulf you’ll know where I’m coming from. Each level throws different enemies and obstacles at you as well as heaps of rocks to bash. While early levels are a walk in the park, later ones are really intelligently designed and as a result, require more brain power to work out the best path to take and escape. Simply hot footing around quickly and blasting oncoming alien life forms will not suffice here. Thinking tactically will however, and guiding oncoming missiles to break through unreachable areas definitely cement Rock Boshers as a really clever puzzle game.
Weapon upgrades include a machine gun with limited ammo and a pretty powerful rocket launcher that all help blast a clear path through (and find those keys). It’s a mixed bag of alien life forms that want to stop you escaping, but thankfully picking up extra lives along the way prolong the journey. Along with hidden collectibles such as Tea and Scones there is a proud British humour exhibited throughout which connects and gives further reasons to keep returning.
I would pay money to see the face of a new PS4 or Vita owner as they download this, not knowing what to expect. The look maybe priceless, but we all know it’s gameplay that keeps us coming back to play and Rock Boshers DX definitely hits that mark. If you want to know what gaming was like 30 plus years ago, then here you have a fine example. Besides, I f you wanted to step further back into the Stone Age gaming times then you would have to play the ZX81. Thankfully we’re not going there.
With its super infectious melodies, Rock Boshers DX really bangs out a pure slice of blocky retro fun. Innocent and addictive, Tikipod Ltd have done it again.
Lizard rating: 8/10