Rock Boshers DX: Directors Cut
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 9

Hats off to Tikipod Ltd for managing to create a game that not only plays exactly like a ZX Spectrum title, but a very good one at that. If this game was released back in the heyday of the Spectrum it would have been rightfully regarded as a classic and even in today’s market it is still a lot of fun. Rock Boshers DX: Director’s Cut isn’t a game to show off your hardware, but if you are looking for fun and a challenge you can’t go wrong with this title.

Gameplay: Very challenging, but also very entertaining.

Graphics: Looks just like a high resolution and very polished ZX Spectrum title.

Sound: Catchy 8-bit tunes and authentic sound effects

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Rock Boshers DX: Directors Cut

Developer: Tikipod Ltd | Publisher: Tikipod Ltd | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Action / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

Instead of the fun and adventures she expected when stowing away on a rocketship bound for Mars, a youthful Queen Victory finds herself forced to bosh rocks instead. She quickly decides that life in the Martian mines does not suit her and focusses on making her escape instead. Standing between her and freedom are hostile soldiers, zombies, giant bugs and gun turrets, but the thought of tea, cheddar and jammy scones keeps her going.

If the goofy plot wasn’t already a giveaway, Rock Boshers DX: Directors Cut is a game that wears its love for all things British and retro very proudly. In contrast to the glut of recent games claiming to be “retro inspired” Rock Boshers takes things a step further. The game is designed to look, sound and even feel like it is an original ZX Spectrum title and fooled quite a few people walking past my desk into thinking it was one. The game uses the same 15 color palette popularized by the Spectrum although without the hideous color clashing. Some concessions, in the form of widescreen formatting and HD rendering, have been made to ensure that the 2D pixel drawn visuals won’t scare away modern players. If you are old enough to remember playing games on the ZX Spectrum the visuals will bring on a rush of nostalgia, but players raised on the visual gloss of modern titles might take a while to adjust to the style. I really like what Tikipod Ltd did with the visuals, but I’m not a fan of the big black borders around the screen. There were also a couple of instances where the limited color palette resulted in me not spotting a passage opening which left me wandering around wondering what to do.

Rock Boshers is split up into three areas, each with eight levels to complete for a total of 24 levels. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete a level, but your chances of doing so the first time round are very slim. You might make it through the first few levels with barely a scrape, but it won’t be long before your luck runs out. While Rock Boshers is not as mercilessly unfair as many of the titles from the ZX Spectrum era, it isn’t afraid to challenge you either. You can expect to be running away from hordes of zombies, avoiding bugs that can kill with one touch and dodging missile firing turrets in your quest to reach the lift on each level.

Although the game is predominantly a twin-stick shooter, you’ll have to use your brain to proceed as well. Most levels have gates that require keys to open and the game is fond of ensuring that things aren’t always as straightforward as they may seem. Whether it is throwing you into a level with a gun that is jammed, forcing you to use the environment to your advantage or requiring you to fool enemy turrets into blowing up each other, there is rarely a dull moment. Things are challenging enough as they are, but if you want to really test your skills you can aim for the time based leaderboards on each level or hunt for the hidden tea, jammy scones and cheddar cheese. The latter even rewards you with unlockable bonus arcade games, including a very cool Aqua Kitty mini spinoff. Even without the mini games Rock Boshers did a great job keeping me hooked despite having to retry some levels multiple times. It has plenty of memorable moments such as finally getting to drive a tank, taking an elevator ride and a showdown with quite an epic final boss.

Just like the visuals Tikipod Ltd kept things authentically retro for the audio in Rock Boshers DX. The music and sound effects were done by Electric Café and not only suits the game to a tee, but are also catchy as hell. I caught myself more than a few times humming some of the tunes after playing the game, so the audio definitely left an impression. The game can be played using either a keyboard or joypad although the eight-way firing felt a bit imprecise when using an analog stick. Due to the rather small arenas you are often giving very limited room in which to maneuver your character while retaliation and dodging whatever is coming at you. The controls are responsive though, something that was not always a given back in the day of the ZX Spectrum!

The mixture of puzzles and shooting kept me hooked while playing Rock Boshers DX even when some of the later levels required multiple attempts to complete (yes level 20 I am looking at you.) It is sad that many players will overlook the game simply because the visual style looks “old” to them instead of giving it a try. While an appreciation for retro titles will certainly help, Rock Boshers DX: Director’s Cut is challenging, polished and entertaining enough that I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys arcade style action games.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 / 8 or higher
  • Processor: 1.2Ghz Dual core Processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 9.0c-compatible graphics card with 256 MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 128 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c
  • Additional Notes: Controls: Keyboard or Joypad (wired 360 / PS4 / PS3 / PS2 / Logitech F310)).
  • OS: MacOS X 10.7 ( Lion ) or higher
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 (2GHz or better)
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: nVidia 320M or higher, or Radeon 7000 or higher, or Intel HD 3000 or higher
  • Hard Drive: 128 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Integrated
  • Additional Notes: Controls: Keyboard or Joypad (wired 360 / PS4 / PS3 / PS2 / Logitech F310)
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 ( 32bit or 64bit )
  • Processor: Dual core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600 (Graphic Drivers: nVidia 310, AMD 12.11), OpenGL 2.1
  • Hard Drive: 128 MB available space
  • Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible Sound Card
  • Additional Notes: Controls: Keyboard or Joypad (wired 360 / PS4 / PS3 / PS2 / Logitech F310)

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