Title: Arcade Archives QIX
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 03/10/2022
Per Arcade Archives norms, you have an assortment of options to choose from, so you can rotate the game vertically for the original resolution. Quite bluntly, this may be the most simplistic game I’ve reviewed on the site, or at the very least, the most simplistic single release title, since the game is just an assortment of lines, with your goal being to draw squares to slowly capture the Qix, a contracting… thing that bounces all around the square arena.
The background is always black, there is only one, very ear-grating “song” whenever you clear a stage, and there’s next to nothing to comment on, yet the simplicity in the presentation still works well, and manages to still be better looking than the Game Boy port that would come out several years later. The color here really does fit!
Qix is so ridiculously simple, this entire section could be contained in a singular paragraph, but I’ll try to stretch it out a little bit. The main goal of the game is to capture the titular Qix, by drawing lines to slowly build squares in the playing area. Once you hit the percentage threshold, you clear the stage, and any leftover earns you sweet bonus points. Clear a stage, and it loops… Barring more Qix showing up in a stage, which leads to more tricky situations, and multipliers kicking in if you successfully split them apart!
With a slow and fast line draw, you can choose to take some risks here. Do you draw slowly and gain more points, but at a higher risk of death if the Qix touches your line, or do you beeline it with a fast draw, but for less points? That’s what helps make Qix one of the finest scoring games from the earlt 80s, one that even if you die quickly and continue quickly, you can keep going to get a higher and higher score.
Even better, the usual ACA features apply, with both a hi-score and caravan mode. The pacing of Qix is a bit too fast for Caravan Mode to really mean much unless you’re a god of survival, but these bonus modes are pretty good bits of replay value.
In conclusion, Qix is easily one of the best in the “simplistic” genre of Arcade games. With a basic concept that’s ridiculously easy to take up and learn, drawing lines is easy enough for anyone to do! The risk and reward aspect of the slow/fast line draws, and the addictive desire to get a higher and higher percentage of the stage makes this game one I will definitely see myself try again and again to score higher on.
I did the same on PSP, Game Boy, and in the sequels, and with the Caravan/Hi-Score modes in the ACA feature set, fans who gel with this gameplay will find this one very addicting, despite the simplicity! That being said, $8 is steep for a game like this, even if it’s brilliant. While the replay value is high, there’s no end goal besides score chasing. You may want to consider the upcoming Taito Milestones compilation in that case, since this version of Qix is bundled right alongside a few other gems! Still, if you’re a Qix nut, this port is an excellent must own.
I give Arcade Archives QIX an 8 out of 10.