Rock Boshers DX: Directors Cut Review (PS4 & PS Vita)
Mars has been in the spotlight lately. Exciting research conducted by NASA has concluded that there may be running water on the planet, brightening future efforts of Martian exploration. The Martian, starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott, is a monumental box office success. However, for a planet known as a symbol of mystery, excitement, and adventure, there have hardly been games that have portrayed any of those themes. It’s been a long time since gamers had a stand-alone gaming adventure on Mars. The last game that truly had its own adventure on the planet was Red Faction: Armageddon in 2011. While Destiny players an visit the planet for its enemy-blasting missions, there is hardly any deepening lore to explore
Wth the push of exploring gaming history, game developers have been making fantastic strides in recapturing gaming gold while being entertaining titles today. One such example is RockBoshers DX from UK-based Tikipod LTD. Featuring a sci-fi spin on Victorian Era London, as well solid game gaming mechanics Rockboshers DX Director’s Cut is a wonderful adventure.
It is the 1880’s in Victorian-Era London. Queen Victoria grows tired of the life of royalty, filled with servants, intricate robes, and fancy refreshments. In the Era, the red planet of war and fire, Mars, becomes colonized. Seeking a new life, she stows away onboard a giant cannon shell, blasting towards the Martian surface. As she crashes downward, she is ready for an adventure, but discovers a terrifying secret. Now she must stop the madness and make her way back to Earth.
The narrative of the RockBoshers DX is told through text bosses, featuring very fancy English. Even upon death, the game reminds you that you have regrettably expired. Coupled with secrets and the dialogue of other characters, the game has a sense of humor and good heart. The game also establishes its time quite well, with interesting illustrations depicting a culture wound in the turn of the century. It reminded my of the music video “ Tonight, Tonight” by The Smashing Pumpkins, which depicts the grand, bold adventures being imagined at the time.
The game plays in as a top-down action game, where players maneuver through their surroundings, searching for keys and delicious English snacks in their quest to escape the cursed planet. Players have access to a pistol, machine gun, and rocket launcher. The pistol has unlimited ammo but the other weapons need bullets that can be found throughout the level. The goal of each level is to find the key and make it to the next level.
In each level, players will battle enemy soldiers, mutants, and martian creatures, all in the glory of retro-styled graphics. The enemies are distinctly designed and colored, and some even have a personality of their own. The bad guys put up a fight, and the levels will require several play through to successfully get through. It’s a firm but fair challenge, requiring movement and weapon selection.
There are over twenty levels in Rockboshers DX, with some completely changing the gameplay. In one level, Queen Victoria pilots a tank. IN another, she is on-board a space crat, fighting vessels like a shmup. Each level changes up its challenges, making each one unique in its own way. If players have a keen eye, they can collect various snacks, which unlock certain arcade games, spun-off from the main quest. Between the main campaign and the arcade games, there is a lot of content to keep players busy.
The presentation of the game is absolutely fantastic in capturing a retro-feel. When played on the Vita, it felt as if I was holding a cutting-edge handheld plucked from that era. The Game is made in the visual essence of the ZX Spectrum computer consoler, which was released in 1982 in the UK. It was an 8-bit console, which is reflected in the game. Queen Victoria is but a few simple shapes. Bullets are illustrations. And aliens brains are glowing sacks of red. Recently, a patch was released to give players the choice of playing the game with an NES visual palette. This gives the game more colors and distinction. Both versions are exceptionally well done.
The sound mixing is also extremely well done. If players didn’t look at the year Rock Boshers was made, they would likely think it was a game from 1986. UK Artists Electric Café composed the music for the game, creating a pulsating, modern twist of sounds and tracks. The main theme, in particular, is incredible and something this reviewer listens to almost daily. There is a flurry of different sounds thoughout the game, bringing a truly interstellar experience.
If there is any drawback to the experience, its for th game to have been longer and more varied. WHile there are tank and spaceship missions, they occur rarely in the game. Seeing more of that and the martian environment would have been a nice addition. The story is neat but I hoped to see more of it, as the video game industry has hardly explored the Industrial Age of the 1880’s, as well as the Turn-Of-The-Century culture. That culture is filled with wild imaginations about the futur, especially spaceflight. ROckbosher captured that imagination but I hope we see more.
Finally, it is worth noting that the game supports both cross-buy and cross-save on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Both games play extremely well on both platforms, each with their own advantages. Playing on the PS4 allowed for higher sound and visual quality, while the Vita version felt natural on the handeld with its presentation. Both controlled very well.
Gamers looking for a truly faithful retro adventure should look no further then RockBoshers DX: Director’s Cut. It is a short adventure and it would have been nice to see more gameplay variety. However, the VIctorian-Era settings, the levels, and gameplay all make for a wonderful title for the PlayStaiton 4 and PlayStaiton Vita.