Arcade conversions are ten-a-penny on mobile, so what makes Q*bert any different? Nothing, that's what.
This is, however, a good thing – what you have here is a near-perfect port of a classic arcade game, the competence of the conversion immediately clear by looking at the screen.
For those unfamiliar with it, Q*bert is the story of a man (actually, he's humanoid at best, seemingly made of all the bits God had left over when he designed humans) who, like many video game characters is in search of the meaning of life – a higher sense of enlightenment that he will attain via the collection of coloured objects.
Okay, so we've dressed that up a bit. Really, like many old arcade games, its meaning extends to just one coloured blob making lots of other coloured blobs change colour on one map before moving on to the next, but you get the point.
So that's what Q*bert is about. Doesn't sound like much, which might lead some to ask what the reason for its success is, both back when it arrived in arcades in 1982 and 25 years later on our mobile phone?
The secret is in its Escher-inspired isometric maps, with their increasing insanity and the speedy invasion of one-touch-and-you're-dead enemy characters. It's a game of quick wits that needs to be played as much as described in order for you to completely understand it. In that sense, it's a classic like Pac-Man.
As already pointed out, this is a direct conversion of the arcade original and, given its old-skool credentials, it's a game that gets hard very quickly, which may or may not come as a shock to the system.
In fact, that's something that suggests the conversion of the game is arguably a little too accurate for its own good. By substituting joystick controls for keypad buttons, the immediacy the game had back in the day is lost and ends up slowing you down a little, making for something that's spot on but frustrating.
In all, then, it's a faithful conversion of an arcade game whose perfection creates some tiny flaws. You can't escape the fact it doesn't exactly fit on mobile. The graphics certainly do, and the spruced-up sound effects are timeless… but really, it's a little too perfect a conversion.
As such, this is really one for the enthusiasts looking for old-skool thrills; anyone after a twitch-based challenge might want to stick to Skipping Stone.