We've been waiting a long time for the follow-up to 1984's acclaimed Boulder Dash franchise. Well, maybe we didn't know we were waiting, but nonetheless, it showed up in the office, so we decided to see how the game has transitioned from our Apple IIs to the DS.
Boulder Dash Rocks, for those who don't remember, is a puzzler that continues the epic saga of the little guy who moves around, collects gems and tries to not get smashed by rocks. He's been modernized and is now a blue alien, and has a gun that can either pull boulders or shoot alien-munching monsters. There are four worlds to adventure through: the Jungle, Lava, Water and Nether Worlds, each with its own terrain and obstacles.
The big goals, however, are always the same: collect all the gems placed around the level and find a way to the exit. There’s always a type of tile that can be destroyed by walking through it and impenetrable walls, too. We started in the Jungle world, with clearable foliage spaces, before moving on to the harder worlds. Clearing the roughage under a boulder will cause the boulder to fall, which can be used to clear pathways or squish enemies. We were unfortunate enough to find that boulders will fall on the little alien's head too, and he will die - hence the name of the game.
In addition to the World Tour mode, which takes you the games 100+ levels, we played a bit of Route Race. In this mode you plan the movements of the blue alien by dragging the stylus through the whole level before telling him to move. To stay in place for a bit you tap the space with the stylus. Anticipating how the level will change as he clears out areas and the rocks start falling is crucial for this mode. When we were satisfied with our route, we hit the play button and watched him go. Good luck little guy.