Qix (pronounced "kicks"), hailing from 1981, represents the best and worst of first-generation video games. It's simple to learn, frustrating to play, and addictive as hell. Taito, the creators of the original arcade hit, have given the game a nice rebirth on the cell.
In Qix, you control a small ship that can draw lines (called, appropriately enough, Stix) from its end. Connecting the trailing line back to the wall creates a sealed-off area that gets painted either red or blue, depending on the ship speed when drawing it (the slower the speed, the higher the points). Your job is to paint at least 75 percent of the screen.
The 2/4/6/8 keys control the ship, and the 5 key alternates the ship's speed between fast and slow.
There are three in-game threats. The Qix, which resembles a bouncy glow stick, moves in random directions around the screen. Your ship is only vulnerable to the Qix when it is drawing lines and safe when resting on a wall. Tiny spiky lines called Sparx, on the other hand, roam the walls you've created. They can only be avoided by leaving the walls. The final adversary, called Fuse, appears at the end of your Stix whenever you stop in the middle of drawing, and it continues to move along the line toward your ship until you start drawing again.
If you haven't guessed, these three adversaries working together insure that every game of Qix is hectic from the get-go. Adding to the pressure is a time limit that, when reached, doubles the amount of Sparx.
Taito has done a good job of keeping the original feel of the game. The sound effects are sparse and intense, while the vector graphics are clear and colorful. Unfortunately, in producing the arcade version, Taito hasn't made any attempt to actually update the game--expect to see state-of-the-art graphics circa 1981.
Also, Qix is missing elements that have become the cell phone game norm, such as uploadable high scores, adjustable difficulty levels, or different game modes. Qix was made for two-minute arcade play, not for long-term gaming, so expect to play it in small doses. Don't expect Tetris longevity. That said, I couldn't recommend Qix more for fans of the arcade game.