Boulder Dash XL has arrived on XBLA. It’s a simple yet challenging game which sees you trying to avoid falling rocks while collecting as many gems as you can as quickly possible, before finally heading to the exit. Of course there is much more to it than that, but there is the premise.
Much like Tetris there have been many reincarnations of this game and this latest version doesn’t seem to stray too far from the path. You start of f the Arcade Mode with a choice of two robots to help your through the caves. Once in the cave you are greeted with a head on view of what needs to be done, you then scroll your robot towards the gems, clearing rubble from different areas of the screen as you go. The problem is that there are rocks spread throughout the screen, therefore as you move through the cave removing rubble the rocks will start to fall, right onto your head if your not careful.
Of course there is an element of puzzle solving here, therefore if you make the choice to remove rubble it’s best to think about the consequences beforehand, because if you get it wrong you will be a pancake. Even if you manage to avoid the falling rocks you could even end up blocking off an area with a lot of gems in it. So like I say, think about what you are doing before you do it.
Other features of the Arcade Mode sees both robots being able to push the rocks off the rubble in order to gain access to the gems. Hazards meanwhile include various creatures which you have to avoid, who move at high speed up and down the levels, although at least if they hit you first aid packs are available to enable you to replenish your health.
Apart from the Arcade Mode, there is also quite a few other modes to keep you entertained, such as the puzzle mode which is untimed and allows you to collect as many gems as you can without the pressure of the clock. Score Attack mode meanwhile is similar in nature, allowing you to rack up extremely high scores in order to show off to everyone else on the leaderboards. To add to these modes there is also the Retro and Zen modes, making for plenty of choice for your 800 MS points.
Given that this game first appeared in 1984 you would expect it to be a lot different, and that it is. Boulder Dash XL includes HD graphics, achievements, leaderboards and more. There are also plenty of new levels, adding the count up to around 150. Add to this the four new game worlds and you have plenty to keep you entertained and challenged.
Boulder Dash XL was never going to be an instant classic, however it’s the type of game which, if you download, will keep you entertained on the nights when all you want to do is pass some time. Problem is you may just end up passing more time than you expected to.
Rating: Good Review policy