Review: Boulder Dash XL (XBLA)

Review: Boulder Dash XL (XBLA)

Boulder Dash XL is, for those of you too young to remember, a remake of a classic 80’s game, Boulder Dash. While some remakes can only be linked to their original iterations with very loose threads, and have become something other than what they originally were, other remakes stay true to their original source and present a new game with a classic feel. Boulder Dash XL is definitely one of the latter, and that is a very good thing in its case.

Boulder Dash XL focuses on a very simple concept: navigate your robot through the map collecting as many diamonds as possible while avoiding falling objects, enemies, and running out of precious, precious time. This basic concept recalls the gameplay of the original Boulder Dash, with additional gameplay modes and mechanics, along with obviously updated graphics, bringing it into the WORLD OF TOMORROW!

I may have been watching too much Futurama during my lunch hour, but that’s a hilariously boring story for another day.

Boulder Dash XL offers five modes of play: Arcade, Puzzle, Zen, Time Challenge, and Retro. Arcade mode gives you 100 levels to play through, unlocking as you progress (you can’t just jump to level 100, obviously). Arcade mode is the standard mode of play, requiring that you grab a certain number of diamonds (while remaining unharmed) to unlock the exit within a set period of time. Puzzle mode only gives you 25 levels to play with, but they require more strategy and planning than the Arcade mode levels. Puzzle mode requires each move to be planned, because each move can drastically alter the outcome of the level. Zen mode lets you go through completed Arcade mode levels at your leisure, allowing you to simply enjoy the maps. Time Challenge mode puts you through the levels in the expected way: against time. Leaderboards are the real point of the Time Challenge mode. Finally, Retro mode is pretty obvious. It’s an 8-bit recreation of the original Boulder Dash, with 8-bit music samples and all. The difficulty is scaled up to match the difficulty of the original. If you remember playing 25 years ago, you’ll enjoy Retro mode immensely.

Graphically, Boulder Dash XL is cute (What, just because I’m a dude with an awesome beard, I can’t say something’s cute?), and doesn’t stray too far from the basic concept and style of the classic. The gameplay is simple, easy to pick up, and a great game to jump into if you’ve only got a few minutes to spare. All in all, while it’s not a mind-blowingly amazing game, it’s not a bad game. Boulder Dash XL is available now on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 800MSP.


Quick to pick up
Multiple game modes
Great Retro nostalgia
A bit simplistic
A bit repetitive
85 out of 100
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