Rock Boshers DX review
WHAT IS IT?
Rock Boshers DX is a twin stick shooter with a retro twist, eschewing 3D graphics, a perk system and online play for a straightforward single screen shooter where you shoot the baddies, get the key and leg it to the exit.
Retro games are nothing new – in fact, with the surge in downloadable titles in the last few years, they’ve proved to be a favourite for indie developers. However, with most of these being based on games from the NES/SNES era, us Brits haven’t seen much homage paid to the home computers we grew up with in the Eighties, like the Amiga, Commodore 64 and Spectrum.
It’s that last one that the developers of Rock Boshers DX obviously have a soft spot for, given that they’ve gone to great lengths to recreate the look and sound of games for the rubber keyed rectangle in this title.
A single screen twin stick shooter, it brings to mind a more stripped down Binding of Isaac, although you won’t find hundreds of pick-ups or hordes of different enemy types. There’s just a handful of each in this game, but you’ll find it’s more than enough to keep you occupied. The pace is so frantic, especially later on, that you won’t have time to worry about a lack of enemy variety.
Like one of the best games ever made, Doom, the basic premise of running around shooting enemies and grabbing keys makes a refreshing change from ducking behind waist high walls and taking pot shots at hordes of goons so prevalent in today’s games. It makes for an entertaining and fun time, and you’ll greet each inevitable death with a quick swear, before adding ‘just one more go…’.
The game also captures that rare sense of British humour of the Spectrum days, encapsulating the quirky Python-esque surrealism that really made games like Monty on the Run or Jet Set Willy so unforgettable. In one of the early levels, a captive tells you ‘The guards are on a scone break’, and its unabashed silliness never lets up.
The negatives of this game depend wholly on who you are and your history with gaming. The graphics alone will attract derision, with the onscreen sprites consisting of nothing more than a small collection of blocks. These aren’t accurate representations of characters or objects, but vague suggestions, leaving it up to the player to work out what’s what. You know what though? It’s charming, and accurate for the era the game wants to evoke.
It’s no walk in the park either. The action is hectic, and in later levels you’ll be pursued by hundreds of constantly spawning enemies. Again though, it’s a fair reflection of the old Spectrum classics, and deaths never feel unfair.
QUIT OR CONTINUE?
If you’re the sort of person who spends their evenings on the internet arguing with strangers about frame rates and pixel density, and you need a perk system to enjoy a game, then there’s nothing here for you.
If however you remember the home computers of old, or have an interest in retro gaming, then this title is a must buy. Despite its simple appearance, there’s a surprising depth to the gameplay, and there’s also smaller games to unlock, encouraging repeat playthroughs. Yes, it trades heavily on nostalgia, but it never relies on it.