Classic 'Q*bert' returns with new iPhone wrinkles


POSTED: Monday, March 15, 2010

“;Q*bert”; used to be one of my favorite arcade, then Nintendo NES, games. So when the iPhone came out with a pay app for the game, I had to get it, even though I typically download only free apps.

The game offers nine ways to play—arcade, modern, random, straight through, ice, space, pirate, castle and jungle—plus two-player mode. Unfortunately, unlike other apps, the two-player mode requires the other person to be within Bluetooth distance, and trying to convince friends to spend $1.99 to play might be a problem. It's better when you can find a challenger waiting anywhere in the world at 3 a.m. and your friends are asleep.






        Type: Game


Cost: $1.99




The arcade selection is great for reminiscing. It has the original sound effects and consists of the tiny long-nosed Q*bert jumping on the blocks of a pyramid to change their colors from blue to yellow. The same purple snake, red and green balls and other monsters come to get you. Other selections, save for the straight-through and modern, are more entertaining and eye-catching.

My favorite is the random selection. The typical pyramid design is replaced by geometric shapes, and you don't necessarily start with an easy configuration. Q*bert also changes costumes with each level, and the block colors are more vibrant. Monsters vary in the “;new”; Q*bert selections, but just remember: You can land on the green monsters but not the purple ones.

There are two ways to make Q*bert jump, by tilting the iPhone or by swiping the screen. When I tried the tilting method, Q*bert was jumping all over, making it impossible to stay on the blocks. The swiping method is easier, although I did jump off the blocks several times because my swipe direction wasn't clear. Make sure your finger swipes in the exact direction you want Q*bert to move. There's a joystick in the bottom left corner of the screen, but you can swipe anywhere on the screen to move Q*bert.

On reflection, I don't know how I could have played this game for hours before. Now I get restless after six or seven screens. If you do find yourself tiring, there's a pause button on the bottom right of the screen allowing you to continue your game later.

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