First Star Software and Chillingo have released the first screenshots of Boulder Dash for the iPhone. This classic game includes all 80 levels of the original as well as 4 additional bonus levels.

itunes-screen-shots-025

We were big fans of the 1984 original title, which I first played on an Apple //c. First Star Software has re-engineered Boulder Dash for the iPhone and iPod Touch to make use of "multi-touch; ‘pinch’ zoom; the ability to switch between portrait and landscape modes on the fly".

The major hurdle for this game to make it to the iPhone is one of controls. Past iPhone Boulder Dash clones have failed to successfully make this transition. In the original version, quick joystick control was required to navigate some of the more complicated mazes. First Star Software has chosen to go with a variety of control options to accommodate different players.

There are two virtual pad controls and one swipe control. Virtual control pads offer the up/down/left/right buttons in a standard plus-sign configuration (screenshot) or divided (screenshot) into separate up/down or left/right controls. Meanwhile, the swipe controls allow you to swipe anywhere in the direction you want to go. Swiping and holding allows you to continue moving in that direction.

As shown in the screenshots below, the game offers both portrait and landscape configurations by turning your iPhone as well as different zoom levels through pinch gestures. We've been given a preview copy of the game and found the virtual pad controls to be surprisingly functional -- allaying one of our biggest fears for this port. Many other iPhone ports have suffered from poor virtual button mapping resulting in a poor experience. We'll provide a much closer look at the game once the game is released (which should be soon).

  • Brett

    It looks okay... I never played the original so maybe I'm just missing the nostalgia

  • Brett

    It looks okay... I never played the original so maybe I'm just missing the nostalgia

  • Marlon

    I want the magic of the original, not this revamped stuff. This character looks babyish and silly.
    The original game had a mysterious atmosphere...

    • arn

      Have you see the original lately? :)

      Here's the Apple II version:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtLxcHtBh90

      • TKO

        Oh god, not the Apple II version. See, it's that scrolling and dentist-drill sound that made c64 owners go crazy and beat up their AppleII friends when they would try to show us cool games.

        Please go look at the c64 version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwM1cDu6zew These graphics, music, and sound are what you got on the c64. I'd much prefer to this than the ghastly screenshots I'm seeing here.

  • Marlon

    I want the magic of the original, not this revamped stuff. This character looks babyish and silly.
    The original game had a mysterious atmosphere...

    • arn

      Have you see the original lately? :)

      Here's the Apple II version:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtLxcHtBh90

      • TKO

        Oh god, not the Apple II version. See, it's that scrolling and dentist-drill sound that made c64 owners go crazy and beat up their AppleII friends when they would try to show us cool games.

        Please go look at the c64 version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwM1cDu6zew These graphics, music, and sound are what you got on the c64. I'd much prefer to this than the ghastly screenshots I'm seeing here.

  • http://www.frapstr.com/ Mindfield

    That is _not_ Rockford. This looks like Data East's cutesy arcade version. Bleh.

  • http://www.frapstr.com/ Mindfield

    That is _not_ Rockford. This looks like Data East's cutesy arcade version. Bleh.

  • Synergistic Ideologue

    Yes, this is Fail™. This isn't Boulder Dash, but rather a knock-off. I agree this doesn't have the vibe of the original at all, not by a long shot. And that equals no purchase from me.

  • Synergistic Ideologue

    Yes, this is Fail™. This isn't Boulder Dash, but rather a knock-off. I agree this doesn't have the vibe of the original at all, not by a long shot. And that equals no purchase from me.

  • TKO

    Way to not grab fans of the original at all! a) The cutesy graphics aren't what BoulderDash was ever about. Rockford is a *creature*, not some dude in a yellow hard-hat. b) And those graphics, seriously, look crap. No pixel-artist or art direction on this project at all IMHO. So you're not going to grab the fans, nor are you going to grab anyone else, coz it's ugly. Great.

    I mean.. dirt, rocks, and walls (stone and titanium) are what you're going to be seeing *everywhere* so a) shouldn't dirt make some pretense at maybe looking a teeny bit like *dirt*?! b) how hard is it to make a boulder look like a boulder and not a mutant glow-in-the-dark orange? c) it isn't hard to make titanium look cool ..start my not using pure shades of red that were popular in the earliest Amiga and Atari days. d) you're going to introduce us to the new amoeba graphics in bright cyan and purple? Go back to the original c64 versions and see now much better it all looked.

    Original c64 one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwM1cDu6zew

  • TKO

    Way to not grab fans of the original at all! a) The cutesy graphics aren't what BoulderDash was ever about. Rockford is a *creature*, not some dude in a yellow hard-hat. b) And those graphics, seriously, look crap. No pixel-artist or art direction on this project at all IMHO. So you're not going to grab the fans, nor are you going to grab anyone else, coz it's ugly. Great.

    I mean.. dirt, rocks, and walls (stone and titanium) are what you're going to be seeing *everywhere* so a) shouldn't dirt make some pretense at maybe looking a teeny bit like *dirt*?! b) how hard is it to make a boulder look like a boulder and not a mutant glow-in-the-dark orange? c) it isn't hard to make titanium look cool ..start my not using pure shades of red that were popular in the earliest Amiga and Atari days. d) you're going to introduce us to the new amoeba graphics in bright cyan and purple? Go back to the original c64 versions and see now much better it all looked.

    Original c64 one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwM1cDu6zew

  • rev

    Omg this is bad, I was hoping for an original look <_<

  • rev

    Omg this is bad, I was hoping for an original look <_<

  • K

    FINALLY!

    The look isn't the key- the gameplay is.

  • K

    FINALLY!

    The look isn't the key- the gameplay is.

  • Karl

    Agree about the graphics, but eve the theme tune is there I'll probably buy it. :-)

  • Karl

    Agree about the graphics, but eve the theme tune is there I'll probably buy it. :-)

  • http://www.frapstr.com/ Mindfield

    Sorry, but when you're bringing a classic over to a new platform, it *is* about the graphics. And the gameplay. And the sound. Deviate too far from any of these and it is _not_ the classic. It's some modern remake. This is a modern remake akin to Data East's crappy arcade version -- and not even a particularly good one. If Chillingo designed and developed this, they completely fail at retro. If First Star is responsible, they should hang their head in shame at mangling their own classic like this. Either way it's like it was developed and designed by someone too young to remember the original.

    I am thoroughly disappointed.

  • http://www.frapstr.com/ Mindfield

    Sorry, but when you're bringing a classic over to a new platform, it *is* about the graphics. And the gameplay. And the sound. Deviate too far from any of these and it is _not_ the classic. It's some modern remake. This is a modern remake akin to Data East's crappy arcade version -- and not even a particularly good one. If Chillingo designed and developed this, they completely fail at retro. If First Star is responsible, they should hang their head in shame at mangling their own classic like this. Either way it's like it was developed and designed by someone too young to remember the original.

    I am thoroughly disappointed.

  • http://www.siosae.de SioSae

    the same concerns about the graphics here, lets hope they will include a classic mode (hopefully they will add some) with the original graphics.

    that was one reason why i tried to add such old school graphics to my game:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukKi5XdthRY

  • http://www.siosae.de SioSae

    the same concerns about the graphics here, lets hope they will include a classic mode (hopefully they will add some) with the original graphics.

    that was one reason why i tried to add such old school graphics to my game:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukKi5XdthRY

  • ChrisH

    One of the reasons I bought SioSae's excellent "Gopher" game is that it had a true retro look and a level designer. I had hoped that First Star would port the C64 graphics and music but it looks as though I will have to dust off my Commodore if I want a true Boulder Dash 'fix'. Sorry First Star but you've just lost another potential sale!

  • ChrisH

    One of the reasons I bought SioSae's excellent "Gopher" game is that it had a true retro look and a level designer. I had hoped that First Star would port the C64 graphics and music but it looks as though I will have to dust off my Commodore if I want a true Boulder Dash 'fix'. Sorry First Star but you've just lost another potential sale!

  • CanMan

    Oh I was looking for the old school look too. Not sure I will try this with the 3D look to it as it looks like you're on some sort of floating platform. Thanks for the post above about Gopher, will give than one a try.

    • TKO

      Yeah, that's what was nagging at me amongst all my ranting. The elements look to be floating in space now, rather than a cross-section of something underground. Well, that and it looking horrid. ..oh, and using oblique 3d doesn't help. It always looks ugly.

      I must say though: I am pleased at the key layout they've gone for. left-right and up-down pads that you control with each thumb. I think that might be the only way to play a game that needs such quick controls. Especially when flicking from down to left or right is often so timing-critical - to avoid a boulder or whatever.

  • CanMan

    Oh I was looking for the old school look too. Not sure I will try this with the 3D look to it as it looks like you're on some sort of floating platform. Thanks for the post above about Gopher, will give than one a try.

    • TKO

      Yeah, that's what was nagging at me amongst all my ranting. The elements look to be floating in space now, rather than a cross-section of something underground. Well, that and it looking horrid. ..oh, and using oblique 3d doesn't help. It always looks ugly.

      I must say though: I am pleased at the key layout they've gone for. left-right and up-down pads that you control with each thumb. I think that might be the only way to play a game that needs such quick controls. Especially when flicking from down to left or right is often so timing-critical - to avoid a boulder or whatever.

  • snow_mani

    I'll also be another to express disappointment at the updated graphics. While gameplay is always and should always be the key, for a retro game like this you really do need the graphics and sounds to be similar to the original. I lot of people will be wanting to re-experience their youth by playing Boulderdash.

  • snow_mani

    I'll also be another to express disappointment at the updated graphics. While gameplay is always and should always be the key, for a retro game like this you really do need the graphics and sounds to be similar to the original. I lot of people will be wanting to re-experience their youth by playing Boulderdash.

  • http://www.firststarsoftware.com Richard

    Based on the concerns expressed by some of you, we (First Star Software) have decided to 'let the cat out of the bag', so to speak, and include the 'retro' mode/option as a menu item, rather than including it as an 'Easter egg' as originally intended.

    Some of you have mentioned the importance of gameplay and THAT has been a primary focus; which I hope some of you will get to experience. No that we didn't focus on the graphics as well. We did. There's a lot you can not 'see' when looking at static screens. Besides the character animations, dirt and walls shift colors at times, etc....all unseen in the screens here.

    Playing on a mobile device, as one 'kills some time', in usually short play- sessions, as you all know, is a lot different than sitting down in from of the TV while playing on the C-64, joystick in hand, for hours on end. For that reason; and, to take full advantage of the unique abilities of the iPhone/iPod touch, we've put a lot of time and effort into providing 3 different types of controls (that can be customized for left/right handed play) and added the ability to zoom in and out as well as single-finger (flick) pan/scroll the cave maps...those...and being able to rotate between portrait and landscape on the fly are all things we felt primary to enhance play on this (mobile) platform.

    Rockford has been depicted in several different looks since his first introduction in 1984. As early as 1988 (before the Data East ...2nd...arcade version) he was portrayed as a human miner, with hardhat and headlight e.g. in the NES version. In fact in the vast majority of games in the series Rockford (and recently his sister Crystal) have been humanized. He has also appeared as a human/cat-like creature as well as an alien, doctor, astonaut, cowboy, chef, etc.

    Unlike some of the other, older 'classics' we have endeavored to evolve both the gameplay as well as the look of the games in the Boulder Dash series over the past 25 years, while ALWAYS remaining true to the game's core gameplay.

    First Star Software developed the game, with our development partner XXIst Century Boy Soft, so we have to take any knocks you may feel warranted...but we would hope that you would reserve your final opinions until you have played the game or spoken to someone who has.

    BTW: I co-founded First Star Software and have been its president since inception and have been intimately involved with the designs and development of this game; so, rest assured it was not left to people too young to remember the original. :-)

    Thank you for taking the time to read all of this.

    • TKO

      Aw, dammit! Now all my rants are entirely negated. :p Now I know there's a retro mode, I'm entirely in. It is Boulderdash, after all. (Damn damn fine game. ..I created a whole level-set (40+ levels) way back in my c64 days.) :)

      Oh, and cheers Richard for coming back with some good info on the game. The mention of the 3 control-methods is reassuring. ..Have y'all seed "Edge" on the iPhone yet? Though it may not be the most appropriate control method, that one might be worth considering.

    • snow_mani

      Thanks for the update Richard. I will definately buy this now and I am really looking forward to it. And I can't wait to show my two brothers. We played and played and played Boulderdash on the C64 when we were kids. As much as I love new games and ideas, it's always the old retro ones that get me excited. I think that it is because they bring back so many memories. If I had of known that the original look was planned as an Easter Egg in the game then I would have searched high and low for it! :D

    • http://www.frapstr.com Mindfield

      Well, if there's a retro mode in it -- and it really is the classic retro game from tip to tail -- then all is forgiven. Especially if it's easily accessed in settings or off the main menu so one can choose to play that way always. I don't cotton to those new-fangled graphics with this human Rockford character and cheezie poof boulders. Also, kids on my lawn.

      Rockford is a cat ... like ... thing. And diamonds had colour cycling bars. And dirt was dirt! Not boxes, dirt! I miss the dirt. My lawn has dirt under it.

  • http://www.firststarsoftware.com Richard

    Based on the concerns expressed by some of you, we (First Star Software) have decided to 'let the cat out of the bag', so to speak, and include the 'retro' mode/option as a menu item, rather than including it as an 'Easter egg' as originally intended.

    Some of you have mentioned the importance of gameplay and THAT has been a primary focus; which I hope some of you will get to experience. No that we didn't focus on the graphics as well. We did. There's a lot you can not 'see' when looking at static screens. Besides the character animations, dirt and walls shift colors at times, etc....all unseen in the screens here.

    Playing on a mobile device, as one 'kills some time', in usually short play- sessions, as you all know, is a lot different than sitting down in from of the TV while playing on the C-64, joystick in hand, for hours on end. For that reason; and, to take full advantage of the unique abilities of the iPhone/iPod touch, we've put a lot of time and effort into providing 3 different types of controls (that can be customized for left/right handed play) and added the ability to zoom in and out as well as single-finger (flick) pan/scroll the cave maps...those...and being able to rotate between portrait and landscape on the fly are all things we felt primary to enhance play on this (mobile) platform.

    Rockford has been depicted in several different looks since his first introduction in 1984. As early as 1988 (before the Data East ...2nd...arcade version) he was portrayed as a human miner, with hardhat and headlight e.g. in the NES version. In fact in the vast majority of games in the series Rockford (and recently his sister Crystal) have been humanized. He has also appeared as a human/cat-like creature as well as an alien, doctor, astonaut, cowboy, chef, etc.

    Unlike some of the other, older 'classics' we have endeavored to evolve both the gameplay as well as the look of the games in the Boulder Dash series over the past 25 years, while ALWAYS remaining true to the game's core gameplay.

    First Star Software developed the game, with our development partner XXIst Century Boy Soft, so we have to take any knocks you may feel warranted...but we would hope that you would reserve your final opinions until you have played the game or spoken to someone who has.

    BTW: I co-founded First Star Software and have been its president since inception and have been intimately involved with the designs and development of this game; so, rest assured it was not left to people too young to remember the original. :-)

    Thank you for taking the time to read all of this.

    • TKO

      Aw, dammit! Now all my rants are entirely negated. :p Now I know there's a retro mode, I'm entirely in. It is Boulderdash, after all. (Damn damn fine game. ..I created a whole level-set (40+ levels) way back in my c64 days.) :)

      Oh, and cheers Richard for coming back with some good info on the game. The mention of the 3 control-methods is reassuring. ..Have y'all seed "Edge" on the iPhone yet? Though it may not be the most appropriate control method, that one might be worth considering.

    • snow_mani

      Thanks for the update Richard. I will definately buy this now and I am really looking forward to it. And I can't wait to show my two brothers. We played and played and played Boulderdash on the C64 when we were kids. As much as I love new games and ideas, it's always the old retro ones that get me excited. I think that it is because they bring back so many memories. If I had of known that the original look was planned as an Easter Egg in the game then I would have searched high and low for it! :D

    • http://www.frapstr.com Mindfield

      Well, if there's a retro mode in it -- and it really is the classic retro game from tip to tail -- then all is forgiven. Especially if it's easily accessed in settings or off the main menu so one can choose to play that way always. I don't cotton to those new-fangled graphics with this human Rockford character and cheezie poof boulders. Also, kids on my lawn.

      Rockford is a cat ... like ... thing. And diamonds had colour cycling bars. And dirt was dirt! Not boxes, dirt! I miss the dirt. My lawn has dirt under it.

  • http://www.firststarsoftware.com Richard

    Thanks all for the positive response!

    I assure you that the 'retro' mode is VERY accessible. e.g. Right off the Main Menu = whenever you start a New Game, the next screen let's you select the mode ('Play with updated graphics' or 'Play with retro graphics') ...make your choice...and you'll stay in that mode if you Suspend Game; Restart Cave; 'Resume' or 'Continue'. We've sent a bunch of 'retro' screens to Chillingo so I expect (hope) that you'll all be seeing some here at TouchArcade VERY soon!

  • http://www.firststarsoftware.com Richard

    Thanks all for the positive response!

    I assure you that the 'retro' mode is VERY accessible. e.g. Right off the Main Menu = whenever you start a New Game, the next screen let's you select the mode ('Play with updated graphics' or 'Play with retro graphics') ...make your choice...and you'll stay in that mode if you Suspend Game; Restart Cave; 'Resume' or 'Continue'. We've sent a bunch of 'retro' screens to Chillingo so I expect (hope) that you'll all be seeing some here at TouchArcade VERY soon!

  • http://www.allaboutthegames.co.uk Peej

    Now this has the classic graphics as well as the puke-inducing new ones, it'll be a first day purchase (unless I can persuade the devs to gimme a promo code in exchange for a review, heh!)

    As an ex Zzap64 reader Rockford > everything :)

  • http://www.allaboutthegames.co.uk Peej

    Now this has the classic graphics as well as the puke-inducing new ones, it'll be a first day purchase (unless I can persuade the devs to gimme a promo code in exchange for a review, heh!)

    As an ex Zzap64 reader Rockford > everything :)

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