i was in the mood for something quick and simple, so i spent some time with quarth, also for the original game boy. the game was one of the earliest released for the system, and although i’d heard about it a while back, one of the main reasons i was interested in playing it was because apparently it shares some similarities with the well-received DSiware game art style: pictobits.
quarth is an odd hybrid of a game. on the surface it mostly looks like a vertically scrolling shooter, except instead of enemies your ship is confronted with shapes that you have to “defeat” by shooting bricks at them and creating rectangles. so technically i suppose the game is more of a puzzle game than a shooter. the game is fairly low-key because you can choose which of the six stages you want to start from (plus a mode featuring randomly generated levels) and three levels of difficulty (which determine how fast the screen scrolls). you can also select among a set of ships, which modifies the background music and visuals.
the game itself is pretty ho-hum, however. creating rectangles square by square just isn’t a very compelling mechanic, and there isn’t much difference in playing the first stage at the lowest level of difficulty compared to playing the sixth stage at the highest level. at the higher levels you do have to strategize a bit more on when to use power-ups, which you earn by creating larger rectangles and which provide benefits such as increasing your firing speed or clearing the entire screen, but otherwise there isn’t much sense of progression to the game. all in all a forgettable early game boy title, but it’ll be interesting to see if and how art style: pictobits improves upon it.