Available on PS4, PSVita, Steam and reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
Rock Boshers DX is a steampunk 2D shooter puzzle game that focuses on a young Queen Victoria as she secretly embarks on a journey to the recently colonised planet Mars. The trip goes wrong however when she and her shipmates are taken captive and forced into slavery upon reaching the red planet; the game follows the young monarch as she fights her way through the Mars basecamps looking for help and her freedom.
Rock Boshers DX, developed by Tikipod, is a twin-stick shooter that combines puzzle solving with blasting away at hordes of enemies. The controls are simple – direction of movement, the direction you shoot, and the buttons to swap between any extra weapon you happen to pick up along the way. Unlike your default weapon, anything you find (be it a machine gun, rocket launcher or a laser-beam gun) will have limited ammunition – so be smart about how you use your weapons! The levels are created with three key features in mind; enemies, the puzzle of the area, and collectables. Some areas are designed so that you have to strategically time ‘laps’ of movement and shooting so that you can keep the crowd of enemies (be it guards or Martian zombies – or worse!) at bay. There are also several items you can collect along the way that go towards your level completion percentage – so keep your eye out for things like cheese, scones, and cups of tea as you solve each puzzle, if you’re wanting to 100% complete each level.
Graphics and Visuals
This game is straight out of the 80s with a look that utterly screams ‘old school nostalgia’; if you had told me this game was an undiscovered Spectrum original, I would have believed you… I mean, mostly because Speccy’s (as they were apparently called?) were before my time and I literally had to google what it was (a type of PC). Now that I’ve made a few of you feel quite old, let me just confirm – Rock Boshers DX takes the 1980’s aesthetic and utterly captures it in glorious 8-bit style. The design of the character sprites and levels are, visually, really cool – I’m a sucker for some old-school pixelated aesthetic and Tikipod have absolutely delivered.
Sound and Music
Perhaps one of the best aspects of this game is the fantastic use of sound. The music sounds authentic to the era of inspiration and is just pop-y enough to get stuck in your head. It also really suits the setting of colonised Mars, and – unlike some music used in games inspired by a particular era – doesn’t feel out of place. Sound effects also match the 80s vibe of the game, and – though fairly simplistic – will be familiar enough to please and induce that ever longed for blast from the past.
I’m not a huge fan of twin-stick shooters, and as I was born in the 90s, I feel like I’m not the perfect audience for the nostalgia fest that is Rock Boshers DX. Despite this, I enjoyed the game; I feel a certain respect for any game created as a love letter for anything, be it a genre, an era or even a visual style – or, like this game, a bit of all three. There’s an on-the-nose sense of humour to Rock Boshers DX that I really appreciated; it’s quirky without being ridiculous and fun without being foolish; an often fine line to tread. If you’re a fan of 8-bit games, puzzles, Britain or twin-stick shooters, you might want to look at picking this one up.