Boulder Dash -XL iOS iPhone Gameplay Review –
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Boulder Dash -XL iOS iPhone Gameplay Review –

August 30, 2019

The original Bourder Dash is one of those
games that most people who played games in the 80s and early 90s should be very familiar
with. Not just that it was ported to every system imaginable, but because there were
a million knock-offs as well. In the end, it was the same simple game. Walk around in
the dirt, gather gems and avoid getting crushed by the boulders once you moved under them,
thus triggering a rockslide. The levels were often part reflex action game, and part puzzle,
as you planned which way to approach gathering certain gems from, and then getting out of
the way of impending rocky doom as soon as humanly possible. Bourder Dash -XL attempts
to bring the game into modern times while still keeping the core experience alive through
a plethora of game modes. Let’s see if they succeed. The controls are as they always were, with
the choice of either directional arrows or an analogue stick. Move around and dig. If
you are standing underneath a boulder, once you move, it will fall (as well as any boulders
it might be holding in place). You can also use the dig button to remove the dirt from
any space above, below, or beside you. These keep the same through the various modes available
which include score attack, puzzle, retro, zen and the classic arcade mode. Most of the modes are self explanatory, and
offer a selection of levels to choose from. A personal favourite was puzzle, which presents
a small area in which all the gems need to be collected, but really the core experience
stays the same. This sadly rings true for the visuals as well. Sure the retro mode swaps
the modelled character for some pixel art but all in all the presentation is rather
muddy and uninspired. The music has some good moments, but comes across as tinny and rather
too sharp. The main problem with Bourder Dash -XL though
is Bourder Dash itself. It really is a game of its time, that has not aged well, and this
supposed re-imaging really just takes the game, throws some lighting and models onto
it, and slightly tweaks the win state for its five different modes. Those looking for
a nostalgic throwback might enjoy this, but on the whole, it’s a rather average experience
that will be hard pressed to find widespread appeal.

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  1. The "classic" mode is not an emulation from the Atari 800, but instead a reinvention. It's slightly off on graphics and gameplay, which is too bad. I'd gladly buy an Atari 800 Boulderdash collection (the two retail games plus the Construction Set). This new version, well, it looks nice. Heaven knows the new designers and artists are skilled. But why a creepy robot? Why the incredibly dumbed-down levels? Why the terrible tinny music? Why so slow? Boulderdash deserves better. Sorry, thumbs down.

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