All the characters are given entirely new designs with the title character being completely redesigned to give him a draconic appearance with smaller eyes, a visible, expressive mouth, arms, purple skin, yellow spines, and a somewhat long tail.
The game plays similarly to Qubes, with a play field of six-sided cubes floating in an arrangement of patterns. The MSX Q*Bert differs from Qubes in that all 50 levels have unique layouts different from the basic diamond shape. Regardless, the player's goal is the same: Match a line of five cubes in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal to clear the current level and move onto the next.
The game also plays noticeably faster than Qubes, with Q*Bert making shorter, quicker hops towards each cube. Another difference is the incorporation of powerups acquired from touching slime "enemies" that travel down the board:
- Red: Turns Q*Bert's spine white and allows him to jump over a one-block wide space while the Space Bar or Fire is held.
- Blue: Makes Q*Bert flash red and knock aside any enemy he crashes into.
- Green: Freezes time for a short period, alike the Freeze Ball (however, touching frozen enemies is still lethal).
- Yellow: Doubles Q*Bert's movement speed.
- Grey: Every enemy on-screen is swept away.
All the other enemies that drop in function like Shoobops (minus their ability to spin the cubes they jump off of, though a particular light green enemy has this ability intact), falling through a cube if the color of the side they land on matches their color. Sheldons also appear.
|Main Series||Q*bert | Q*bert's Qubes | Q*bert 3 | Q*bert (1999 game) | Q*bert: Rebooted|
|Spin-Offs and Ports||Q*bert (MSX) | Q*bert (Game Boy) | Q*bert 2004 | Q*bert 2005 | Q*bert Deluxe|
|Board Games||Q*bert | Q*bert's Quest|
|Television and Film||Saturday Supercade | Wreck-It Ralph | Pixels|
|Unreleased||Faster Harder More Challenging Q*bert|