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Qix (Game Boy) artwork

Qix (Game Boy) review


"You're running down a narrow dark corridor, being chased by an ominous sparkling orb that just doubled in size. There's no worries, though, as you're able to outrun it, due to its slow pace. So every thing's fine....at the moment. Suddenly, another orb approaches you from up ahead. Now surrounded, they both take their time, savoring the victorious moment before they evaporate you. At this point, you're running out of options, and attacking them is out of the question, since they're pretty much ..."



You're running down a narrow dark corridor, being chased by an ominous sparkling orb that just doubled in size. There's no worries, though, as you're able to outrun it, due to its slow pace. So every thing's fine....at the moment. Suddenly, another orb approaches you from up ahead. Now surrounded, they both take their time, savoring the victorious moment before they evaporate you. At this point, you're running out of options, and attacking them is out of the question, since they're pretty much invincible beings. There's only one thing left to do: break free from the confinement of these narrow hallways and venture into the open, uncharted, and dangerous territory. You know damn well that an abominable beast roams this arena, waiting to devour anything that wanders in, but you have no choice, so you take the risk. As you carefully move in, it goes well at first, seeing as the beast is curled up on the other side of the field. But it quickly senses your presence, and hastily charges you, putting an end to your miserable life.

If you're thinking this is some kind of survival-horror game, well, then you might be onto something... No, actually, it's a rather simple and unique game that came out on Nintendo's now prehistoric handheld: Qix. Using the tried and true "easy to pick up, difficult to master" formula, the objective sounds quite easy: with your Marker, which takes the form of a diamond, your goal is to cover up seventy-five percent or more of the enclosed, square arena, by creating blocks. Sounds pretty simple, but, there's obviously a catch. To add some challenge to this seemingly easy task, there are sparks (brilliantly named Sparx) that roam the very outer lines that you travel on. Since you can't attack anything in this game, all you can do is avoid them as much as possible. You can't run from them forever, though, at some point in every stage, your Marker will be trapped between two Sparx. Thankfully, you can just hover over one of them by drawing a block right around it.

But this maneuver can be quite dangerous to pull off at times. Wandering around inside the closed field is the QIX, an oddly striped nemesis that'll give you plenty of trouble throughout the game. This unusual creature will intimidate the hell out of you, thanks mostly to its unorthodox movements. It will bend, stretch from one side of the screen to the other in mere seconds, curl up in a tiny ball, and wiggle about the field, pretty much showing you who's the boss. Its unpredictable movements is what makes this game so intense: every time you go out into the field to create a block, you're taking a huge risk. And believe it or not, this isn't really hard compared to later on, when things get really intense. By the fourth stage, you'll be dealing with at least six Sparx, which only get bigger and more aggressive as time goes on, and a stage later, you'll have to worry about not one, but two QIXs. As miserable as all of this might sound, it's actually quite fun and exciting. It feels like you're playing a game of tag, everyone except you is it, and they're trying their damnedest to tag your Marker.

Unfortunately, the game gets too hard, too fast. To be more specific: the third stage! Really, right from the start of the stage, the QIX will become a hardass, keeping your Marker on its toes as it creates blocks. And when you reach the climax of the stage, you're literally grasping to stay alive as the arena gets smaller, and the Sparx and QIX put up quite a fight in their effort to take you out. I can deal with the difficulty just fine, but I know that for some gamers, it can be a big turn off and really bring the enjoyment down a few notches. It would've been better to build up to the challenge, or at least have an option for different difficulty settings. Besides that one glaring flaw, Qix is an interesting experience that you should try out at least once. And if you're not sold on the simplistic, yet, unusual concept, then at least do it for the simple fact that you get to see Mario in a poncho, playing a guitar in the desert, when you lose. I mean, COME ON, who doesn't want to see that?

Rating: 6/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (December 03, 2004)

After reviews about Gradius, Salamander, Parodius, and Otomedius games, PickHut attempted a Scramble review. The idea never materialized into writing...

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