As soon as I downloaded the Qake game to my iPad, I was immediately drawn in by the nostalgic, arcade feel. The 2-bit graphics and old-school music reminded me of classics like Pac-Man and Tetris, which are still just as fun to play today.


Qake is a great addition to the arcade-style genre, with a simple and addicting premise. When you start the game, you’ll notice a ball bouncing around the screen. As a player, your task is to quickly block out a certain percentage of the screen by drawing lines with a moving icon, all while being careful to avoid the ball. If the ball touches any part of the line you’ve begun to draw, or the drawing icon itself, you lose a life. You control the icon using swipe motions to change directions, but the limitations are that you can never move diagonally, and you can’t move backwards if you’ve begun to draw a line. Once you successfully connect the line to an existing yellow area, the entire area within the line will become blocked out, as indicated by the yellow color. This gets you closer to the goal of blocking out the screen in yellow, but reduces the area that the ball can access, making it harder to avoid the ball.


There are also a number of other features that help create a fun playing experience. As you progress, the levels become increasingly difficult, such as adding multiple balls or increasing the percentage of the screen that the player must block out. Once there’s more than one ball in a level, you gain extra points if you manage to block out an area that a ball is in. Many times, I found myself taking risks to block out a ball so that I could boost my points on the scoreboard. Adding to the fun are the surprise physics distortions that can help you by repeatedly causing a ball to slow for a moment. Or they may work against you by enlarging a ball and causing it to spin around at random intervals. Some other traps also appear at random times throughout the levels, such as bombs that explode within a few seconds.


I greatly enjoy Qake due to the thrill of making risky calculations about how far the icon can move while still escaping a ball. The player has to make constant snap judgments about how quickly they’ll be able to cover a distance, while always being ready to react immediately if a ball does something unexpected. Qake is also a perfect example of an ideal difficulty level. It wasn’t too easy so that I never felt challenged to move past the higher levels, but whenever I lost, I was immediately motivated to try again and continue to improve my skills, rather than feeling continually frustrated. The one area for improvement is that the swipe actions can occasionally become imprecise due to my frantic movements, but it’s never detracted from my enjoyment of the game.

If you’re a fan of arcade games and enjoy the thrill of taking risks to complete a task, Qake would make a wonderful addition to the app collection on your iPhone or iPad. I highly recommend it for gamers of all ages. You can find it in the App Store for $.99 or try out the first 10 levels in the lite version for free.

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