(GB / Game Boy)

QIX (GB / Game Boy)

Game Review

QIX Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

Get your QIX fix, dudes and chix!

QIX is the story of... aw, forget it. The eShop download screen has more of a story than QIX does, but that's a good thing. It means that the game can be played over and over again without feeling even slightly repetitive. The gameplay isn't just pushed to the forefront in QIX... the gameplay is all there is.

QIX is a relic from a far simpler time in gaming. It's a game of the sincerest simplicity that still never manages to feel like the same game twice. If you've ever felt the appeal of Pac-Man, Space Invaders or Arkanoid — and we don't just mean played, we mean truly felt — QIX is an impressive addition to that elite minority of games that simply won't grow stale.

The object of the game couldn't be simpler: little by little, it is your job to carve the playing field into smaller and smaller pieces. This limits the movement of your enemies — and of the titular QIX — but it also ends up restricting your own movement as these areas are removed from play. If you carve out a large enough percentage of the board, the level is complete and you move on to the next.

You can only ever move along the boundary of the playing field, unless you're in the process of carving away another slice of it. Sparks can also move around the boundary, and if they touch you, you lose a life.

The QIX itself is a snake-like series of dashes. Many of you are too young to remember this, but in the bygone era of classic gaming, abstract shapes were almost all we had! If it touches you, you lose a life as well. The difference is that the QIX flits around the playing field, and isn't restricted to boundaries. Reacting ahead of time to its movements is essential, because you'll lose a life if it so much as brushes against the line you're drawing. The game itself claims that the QIX moves randomly, but before long you're going to swear it has at least some kind of AI. And also that it really, really hates you.

You control a diamond and by tracing shapes in the playing field you remove them from play. You can choose to trace either slowly or quickly. Quickly has obvious benefits, as your reaction time is increased enormously, but you won't score as much for shapes completed at this speed. Shapes completed more slowly are worth significantly more, but the movement speed is about the same as that of a snail in molasses.

And... that's really it. It's a game you'll learn in about 30 seconds, but it's quite likely one you'll return to time and again. It's easy to pick up and play, difficult enough to keep you engaged, and addictive enough that you'll have trouble putting it down.

It's no masterpiece, though. As strong as the central concept is, the Game Boy version of QIX is all too quick to show its age.

Visually, the game might as well be composed of ASCII characters. This isn't a complaint per se, but anybody looking for a visually engaging experience, or even something that's at least artfully simple, will be disappointed. Aurally, the game is nigh-on offensive: the endless mechanical drone that takes the place of music will not be a welcome addition to anyone, and it's no coincidence that the game's manual reiterates several times that you can turn off the sound effects, almost as though it's begging you to do so.

Two other issues of note: the game's two-player mode sits on the menu mocking you, as it cannot be selected. Obviously this is a sign of a larger issue with the 3DS's Virtual Console in general, but it will never be not worth mentioning to prospective customers.

The other issue is a little less obvious, but there's no doubt you'll feel it. You're playing a game on your 3DS that involves — and is entirely limited to — tracing shapes in a playing field. And you're doing it without a stylus in your hand. Feels almost sacrilegious, doesn't it?

We're not saying that QIX should have been remade to incorporate touch screen controls. For the price, that's absurd. But playing a game like this on a console that's downright perfect for it, and not being able to use those very features that make it perfect, well... it just sort of hammers home how far gaming has come in such a small amount of time. It doesn't detract from the experience for us, but some gamers may well feel that it's just a little too far behind the curve.


QIX is a classic game that suffers — if it suffers at all — from being born too soon. Regardless, it's still a great deal of fun, and satisfyingly simple to learn. This is definitely a game that some will find divine, while others will be puzzled by its popularity. It's quick to learn, easy to play and impossible to truly master. We can't promise you that you'll like this game, but if the game sounds even slightly appealing to you, we'd confidently say that it's worth the risk.

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User Comments (38)



Blaze said:

Hmmmm, maybe I should pick this up then, at first I just dismissed it as crap.



Weskerb said:

"The game itself claims that the QIX moves randomly, but before long you're going to swear it has at least some kind of AI. And also that it really, really hates you."

I swear that the thing very deliberatley makes a sudden dash for me if I get a little cocky and try making bigger shapes. Also I don't get the feeling of regret for not using the sylus, if you had the stylus it would be too easy to box the thing in in no time at all, as your drawing speed couldn't be limited in the same way.



bezerker99 said:

It was an instant download for me! Quick, fast, FUN! What more could you want for $2.99?

Split Qix - FTW!



Supremeist said:

It seems alot of our 3DS VC games have been getting straight 7's.
I won't be picking this up, though.

Good review, I'm not interested.



Gavin_Rozee said:

I downloaded it like 5 minutes before this review was put up. I'm happy with my purchase, but dud I do the right thing choosing this over Kirbys Dreamland (for now)?



x10power said:

@Gavin sorry man Kirby Dreamland is a must own for any Kirby Fan since it the game that started the series without his most well known ability.



warioswoods said:

Ohh, I get it now. This game is basically the origin of Dancing Eyes, just without all the... "dancing."



JebbyDeringer said:

Qix is awesome. I haven't played the Gameboy version but I've played the arcade version and other clones. Dr Awesome for iOS is a decent clone.



Philip_J_Reed said:

"Also I don't get the feeling of regret for not using the sylus, if you had the stylus it would be too easy to box the thing in in no time at all, as your drawing speed couldn't be limited in the same way."

It could be limited by building a delay into the game's response to your touch screen controls or something along those lines, but that's beside the point. It's just an observation that it feels strange using a D-pad (or slidepad) to draw lines on a handheld unit that has stylus controls!

No reflection on the game at all, but I thought that was interesting enough to note.



Megumi said:

Can't remember if I played something like this before in some form. I remember the "carving" part, but don't remember any shooting. I just remember that you had to trap your enemies without getting hit or something.



Mr_Nose said:

Are 3DS VC games in 3D? I think I've read three reviews of them here, and I can't recall the effect ever being mentioned.



grumblegrumble said:

Wonderful game, was looking forward to seeing it in some form on the DSi/3DS/eShop sometime. Played this as a kid in the early 80's and have fond memories of jumping up and down in my local grocery store throwing quarters at this fun game. I only wish they would put out a color new and classic version of the game. Other than that, I love this and I feel it is very deserving of 7 stars Go grab it!



grumblegrumble said:

You guys keep going on and on about not being able to use the stylus to play this game. There are MANY MANY games on the eshop/dsiware and even in retail stores for the DS that don't allow you to use the stylus. Once people realize that the "stylus" is a gimmick, I feel the better off we'll be. I'm an old school gamer, what can I say? LOL. This game (and many others, such as Mario and Zelda, imho) were meant to be played with a control stick or a control pad. Keep in mind this is just my opinion. The stylus is a temporary gimmick just like everything else is/was. Ten years from now we'll look back and laugh at the stylus. LOL For the meantime, though, I'll enjoy it with the rest of you when it's available.



Link977 said:

picked it up even before the review, I've played many games like this, why not play this one?



Monsti said:

Hmmm....my cousin had this one and it was fun but bored me rather quick...the review makes me think about giving it another try.



MoistVomit said:

I'd rather they just release Gals Panic with 3DS effects for the 3D system they released.. You can already play the original arcade version of Qix online for free (and in color).



JimmyWhale said:

Thanks for giving us the feed on the three'd, Reed! (rhyming is fun, but now I'll be done)



Popyman said:

Don't really see myself being able to enjoy this after already have played Patchwork Heroes.



Otty_Ott said:

This is one of my all-time favorite arcade games, and the Gameboy version ain't bad! I still have my cartridge!



brooks83 said:

From what I have read, the two-player mode used one Gameboy with alternating players. Why was it taken out?



Tethers said:

Way too high score for such an monotonously game...

I thought there might be even different levels or enemies, but no, if you see the first level, you saw them all, beside a second shape...

At most a 5/10 for me.



Davva said:

A 7 is about right, still very enjoyable and a great conversion of the original arcade game.
I do miss the 2 player link-up game, it required co-operation to get through stages, but got really competitive for the scroing, but it's a fraction of the cost of the original game.
I really like having the restore points so i can finally save high scores!
I still think the various appearances (after higher scores) by Mario are really wierd...



RantingThespian said:

I remember this game all too well. It was one of my first Gameboy Games. I played the hell out of it for the longest time. It's simple but very fun!

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