Rock Boshers DX Review—Here’s a Classic

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More often than not, PlayStation Mobile games are designed to accommodate the lowest common denominator: the non-Vita owners. Physical buttons are abandoned entirely in control schemes to cast a wider net. However, I just can’t imagine playing Rock Boshers DX on any device except the Vita. Rock Boshers DX is specifically designed for the Vita hardware, and that’s a good thing, because I don’t own a considerably powerful smartphone that is PlayStation Certified (I have a Blackberry—some of you might not even consider this a smartphone!), and, less specifically, can run Android or iOS games. I did own an iPod Touch (4th generation) but got rid of it because I don’t have any use for it, be it for gaming, music playing, or as an Internet device.

Tikipod is known for Aqua Kitty, one of the best PlayStation Mobile games out there. I even consider Aqua Kitty one of the best video games out there, period, regardless of whether it’s handheld, mobile, console, PC or whatever platform. Now they have come up with Rock Boshers DX, as an ode to the Olden Days of gaming. I often raise my eyebrows when it comes to indie games that channel the pre-NES era, because it is sometimes more of a hipster pretentiousness to conceal the lack of game design skills on the developers’ part. This is not the case here.

Rock Boshers DX employs an archaic presentation with its pixelated graphics and chiptune music. The color palette may only involve a single-digit number of colors. Of that I’m not entirely sure, but expect only basic colors—though they do look good on the Vita screen.

It is hard to categorize what its genre is, as it starts as a level-based, search-for-the-exit action game, then evolves into a twin-stick shooter and then goes exploding with heavy puzzler elements. The game is difficult even if you are just a run-through gamer as opposed to being a completionist. There are lots of collectibles, trial and error, and of course, the time limit. Rock Boshers DX is able to assemble the best of classic gameplay mechanics and then stitch them together, making the game better than the sum of its parts. And there are zombies.

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There’s a bit of a “substantial” story . . . HAHA, I actually just skipped the narrative because I don’t play games for their stories. From what little I understood, it’s about a space quest to Mars gone wrong. Well, you can do the reading later, right? The game uses a top-down perspective to navigate around claustrophobic levels. Remember the SNK Minis? In Rock Boshers DX, there are black bars pillarboxing the game’s screen to lay down an “emulation” experience. Adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere.

Now, in the game, you flip switches, find keys, destroy boulders, regrow alien life forms and shoot armed enemies and/or zombies. You also have to evade turrets’ shots and hack computers (and by “hack,” it means “blast them with your gun”) to turn them off or on, depending on the situation. Yes, there are lots of gameplay elements packed into each level, and you have to do these things within the time constraint. You have a limited number of lives, but you can get some additional lives in the levels, if you find them or find the way to get them. There are collectibles in the form of food, as far as I can tell. There are hidden areas, and you can complete levels in different ways.

The puzzler side of things requires lots of thinking and planning, and also trial and error. The shooter part requires skill, as the right stick lets you shoot in eight directions. Movement is via left stick. There are other weapons that you can also pick up, as well as new enemies/hindrances/puzzles sprouting up as you progress. Rock Boshers DX is such an example of game design perfection in the gameplay department that I will have a hard time tolerating future and current PlayStation Mobile games that are sparsely thought out and then released in a half-a**ed form. True, the game is hard, and I myself didn’t even finish the game yet, but I can assure you, those who like video games that don’t treat you like an imbecile will have a blast. If you can’t appreciate this game for what exactly it is, check your tongue, because there’s something wrong with your taste.

10/10

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Comments

4 Responses to “Rock Boshers DX Review—Here’s a Classic”
  1. onmode-ky says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the game’s style is meant to resemble that of the ZX Spectrum. Not being a Brit, I’m not too familiar with the system, but I recall the graphics looking like this.

    Oh, and if anyone has trouble viewing the embedded video, please let me know.

  2. Aaron Jean says:

    “because I don’t own a considerably powerful smartphone that is PlayStation Certified (I have a Blackberry—some of you might not even consider this a smartphone!), and, less specifically, can run Android or iOS games. I did own an iPod Touch (4th generation) but got rid of it because I don’t have any use for it, be it for gaming, music playing, or as an Internet device.”

    If this entire background section was deleted, the review would be none the lesser for it. There are times when background provides important context, but this isn’t one of them.

  3. JeremyR says:

    It’s a very funny game, too. I loved the little messages people would say.

  4. onmode-ky says:

    I beat this recently. It is indeed a lot of fun and has quite a variety of different things to do among the various levels. The time on each level is actually not a limit, at least not of the “die if it runs out” type, but rather a target for speedrunning–and I’ve come in under all of them. :)

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