Review : Kobo Deluxe

It’s rare that I get totally addicted to a game under Linux. I mean, the
environment isn’t really conducive to totally immersive gaming. Back in my
Windows days I’d have a serious game every week or two I’d play pretty
constantly until I either beat it or got tired of it. Since I’ve gone totally
Linux, that just hasn’t happened. Now, many would consider this a -good- thing,
since games can in fact be total time sucking life suckers, but gosh darn it,
sometimes ya just have to take a break from the full time job and just blow things up
for a while.

I’m not a cutting edge sort of gamer. If I like something, I’ll play it for
a while. And I mean a while. I’m still playing Quake 3 Arena just because
durnit, it’s a fun game, and lets me, well, you guessed it, BLOW THINGS UP!
When I shifted over to Linux, Q3A wasn’t really an option anymore (yes, I know
it’s possible, but I just wasn’t up for the hassle.

The Discovery

I moseyed over to a wonderful Linux gaming site called Happy Penguin and started browsing
listings. A couple looked interesting, and I tried a few, then someone pointed
me to Kobo Deluxe. Happy Penguin had a
page on it which
had some pretty positive commentary, so I decided to check it out.

The Installation
As I’ve come to expect, my Debian Linux
installation was all over the application, and all I had to do was type
‘apt-get install kobodeluxe’ and in a few moments, things were ready to go.

The Game

The nutshell of the game is, well, SHOOT EVERYTHING. There’s no powerups, no
plot or anything, just keep shooting until there’s nothing left, then go to the
next level and do it again. Ya gotta respect that, it works mighty well.

You are the pilot of a small ship trying to destroy complex fortresses. The
fortresses are guarded by impenetrable walls that can only be destroyed by
shooting the emplacements at the end of the walls, which cause the walls to
disintegrate. Destroy enough of them, and you can shoot the ‘core’ of the
fortress, thereby destroying the whole thing.

When you start out you only have 1-2 small fortresses to destroy, and they’re
pretty easy. As the game progresses, it gets harder pretty quickly. There
are zillions of levels in the game, and some of them you just have to keep
pounding away until you can get through them.

The Gameplay
On a PIII-700 in full screen mode the game is responsive and playable. There’s
no pausing or noticeable flicker, and the soundtrack plays fine. Kobo Deluxe
is completely SDL based, and includes support for OpenGL. Control of the ship
is done either via keyboard or joystick (I use the keyboard), and is very

The ship can only shoot in 8 directions (no smooth turning), but always
‘forward’ and ‘back’ whenever you fire, so really, it’s pretty easy to lay down
a world of hurt on the things around you just by ‘spinning’ the ship around and
blasting anything within range.

Each level has its own combinations of different defenses, other ships flying
around, even indestructible asteroids. It never really gets boring.

The Conclusion
This is an example of a relatively simple game that is COMPLETELY addictive and
very clean and simple. I find myself constantly saying “Oh just one more
level” even at 3am when I have to be up and working by 8:30. Not good, but
nice to see it on a Linux platform. I don’t have many gripes with the
entire setup, the music is quite good, the sound is great, the playaction is
good, and it’s consistently challenging. What more could someone want?

For those who are already playing, my best level so far is level 33.
Enjoy 🙂


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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7 thoughts on “Review : Kobo Deluxe

  1. keep playing, keep playing. The farthest I got was 543, but by then I was playing a patched up version of my own machination with more intelligent projectiles..
    Don’t cheat (blowing up blue bombs first) on level 50!

  2. “When I shifted over to Linux, Q3A wasn’t really an option anymore (yes, I know it’s possible, but I just wasn’t up for the hassle.”
    The only reason that you can’t play quake3 in linux is if you don’t have an nvidia/ati card. All modern distros will allow you to set those two cards up easily for 3D. You just need to download the latest quake point release, install it and then copy your pak0.pk3 file from the cd to the proper place. Takes about 10 minutes, including the copying of the 560MB pk3.
    I know that gaming on Linux is sorely lacking, but to say that you can’t be bothered to install Quake, a game you apparently love, is ridiculous.

  3. Cube, man, 1rst person shooter, runs as smooth as is gets. Allows you to simply blow things up or frag other gamers on the net.

  4. Indeed cube is a good alternative but quake 3 has still most of the great mods. I like in game editing in cube a lot but when it comes to some more realism shooting I choose TrueCombat (
    PS I play Q3 (+mods) on a FreeBSD machine. The only trouble I get is with that stupid punkbuster.. But pbweb solved it.
    PPS KoboDeluxe is indeed very cool. I discovered it when it was ported to the xbox (long live SDL) and I now play it on my FreeBSD notebook every now and then…

  5. I have an S3 Savage equipped PIII 750 laptop, and I play Quake 3 on it without problems. It was as easy as ’emerge quake3′ (on gentoo), copy the pak0.pak file to the install directory, and go. No hassle required.

  6. linux is an excellent platform for 3D FPS games, we just need more titles – as for Q3A, I have no idea what “hassle” he is talking about, it’s always been dead simple to install Q3A, just as it’s dead simple to install ut2004, and the gameplay is great – I still like Q3A, and kick a lot of win32 butt out there. For me, it’s kind of weird to imagine using ms windows as a gaming platform…

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