Most video game geeks around the world agree that there are two things that when added vastly improve a video game franchise, Zombies and Robots. Sticking with this recipe for success Ludosity have taken the Robot route with their latest game, Boulder Dash XL-3D. Fans of the Bolder Dash franchise may know that this is the 3DS version of the 2011 Xbox LIVE arcade game Boulder Dash XL, and from what I have played so far this game is proving to be even more addictive on the 3DS.
Boulder Dash XL-3D is a great re-imagining of the classic Boulder Dash games. If you are not familiar with the game play of Boulder Dash it’s pretty straight forward. You have to navigate your way through a cave collecting diamonds and trying to find your way to the exit, whilst avoiding the occasional boulder falling and crushing you whilst keeping within your time limit. Sounds simple enough, but throw a couple of cave monsters into the mix and you have a good formula for a highly addictive puzzle game.
In previous Boulder Dash games you controlled a cave explorer called Rockford. In this latest Boulder Dash outing however you have one of two robot characters to choose from. You can either play the game as the robot version of Rockford or his mechanical female companion Crystal. Sadly there isn’t much variety between these two robots except for their gender, but it still gives the game a little bit more variety.
There are five game modes to choose from Arcade, Puzzle, Zen, Score and Retro. Each game mode gives you an extra challenge to the classic game play. In Arcade mode you play through 100 levels, each level getting progressively harder as you complete each cave. Zen mode has the same 100 levels unlocked from the get go, however you are not completing levels against the clock meaning you can sit back and relax while you explore these levels. Puzzle mode gives you 25 new levels which focus purely on collecting a set number of diamonds and getting to the exit. Navigating through the caves is much more of a challenge in this mode as the game likes to throw you curve balls around pretty much every corner. Score Mode only consists of four levels, but encourages you to race the clock by collecting as many diamonds as you can within a very short time period. Hours can be spent in this mode trying to beat your best score and I think it’s safe to say that Score mode is like the time trial mode of the Boulder Dash universe.
If like me you favour a more difficult gaming experience then Retro mode is for you as this has been dubbed as an ‘extra difficult’ old school experience. This mode is a great homage to the old school Bolder Dash games as it has retro 8bit graphics and the difficulty curve that is familiar from classic Boulder Dash games back on the Atari.
Boulder Dash-XL 3D adds a lot more obstacles and items to the Boulder Dash universe. Teleporters have been added into a handful of the levels to add an extra dimension to your cave navigation. Also keys and locked doors have been added as well to make levels even more challenging. New items have been added such as a grab arm to pull boulders towards you, as well as a speed boost to help you gain valuable seconds in order to complete levels. These new features are great additions to the Boulder Dash franchise as they add new game play elements and encourage the player to think about what they are doing more.
Graphically the game looks really good on the 3DS console. The cute cartoony graphics had me smiling as soon as I booted up the game for the first time. The 3D feature adds to the aesthetic but doesn’t do much else. I would of liked to see the game use the 3D feature more in its game play as it could of added an extra challenge. The sound effects also add to the atmosphere and make the game a joy to play.
If you’re a Boulder Dash fan then you will feel right at home with Boulder Dash-XL 3D as it has some great new features that breathe new life into the franchise. This game is also great for new comers too as it is an easy game to jump right into. Overall Boulder Dash-XL 3D is a great puzzle game for the 3DS which any wannabe cave explorer should pick up.
+Great new additions to the Boulder Dash franchise
+Great graphics and sounds make a great cave exploring experience
+Good amount of levels to play through
-3D feature is just asthetic
-The different characters don’t add much variety
Score: 8 out of 10
Boulder Dash XL-3D supplied for review by Reef Entertainment.