Qake : Best Retro Arcade Game

by Apr 2, 20150 comments

Genre : Games
Platform : iPad | iPhone
Developer : Jennifer Zeiser
Rating : 4
Positives : graphics, game play and fun
Negatives : none

Qake is an overall refreshing throwback to a retro arcade game. The goal is to capture a certain percentage of the court while avoiding an ever increasing amount of obstacles. Balls of varying speed and size along with bombs bounce around, and if one of these encounters the player’s wall while it’s moving, the player will lose a life (signified by the classic heart symbol). However, there are plenty of power-ups, including invincibility and speed up, to help navigate your way through this classically inspired game.

First, let’s discuss one of the unique aspects to this game. Each level is randomly generated, allowing for a new challenge with every play. Replayability, especially for an arcade game such as this, is integral to a game’s success, so naturally, I love how dynamic this game is. I do, however, have one complaint about it. This game is certainly challenging, and I find myself losing a lot of lives, which is great. Every game needs to have a learning curve. The problem is that whenever a life is lost, a new randomly generated level is created, erasing the challenge of the level you were just playing. I think the game could be improved by allowing the player to re-attempt the same level, giving the player the opportunity to master the specific challenge before moving onto the next randomly generated stage. This would allow the player to learn and adjust to the particular difficulty of whichever level is being played. As it stands, since each life is essentially a new level, the overall progression of the challenge becomes a little lost.

Otherwise, the presentation is fantastic and will make anyone who grew up in the era of arcade games feel nostalgic. The graphics nail the 8-bit feel of video games past. The music and the sound effects manage to capture this same feel without being obnoxious. The title screen also has “insert coin” option, which when touched, makes a coin sound – a nice addition to bring the player back. If anything though, I’d add a few more songs, since it seems there’s only the one so far. Also, the voice that plays when the player’s lost all of their lives is somewhat funny, but I can see it getting old after multiple run-throughs. I think he’s supposed to be saying “what’s up,” which seems slightly out of place since the player just died. Maybe a traditional “game over” would be more fitting?

Lastly, the gameplay is the strongest aspect of this game. Similarly to the classic game Qix, Qake allows the player to control their starting point with great detail. The pixel indicating the starting point is always in motion, giving a good sense of pace to the game. I love how this game has been designed to allow the player to go for a big space grab or to shave off a small portion of the percent required, based on the current difficulty. The variability of the balls in terms of size and speed also keeps the game interesting and compelling.
While I feel this game could be improved in small ways, it has already made it into my rotation of iPhone games. Keep up the good work, JandH.

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