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The classic game: Captain Cowboy

Say howdy to a retro-infused title we’re never too tired to dig out

This latest entry in our classic game series digs into a spaced-out take on retrogaming superstar Boulder Dash.

Captain Cowboy

What was Captain Cowboy?

A hand-crafted action puzzle game, featuring the titular Captain, who was just walking around when he was “accidentally transported to a giant space maze.” Harsh.

Your aim was to explore, dig deep into the asteroid where the Captain ended up, collect diamonds, unearth secrets and jokes, and not get crushed by the many inconveniently placed boulders dotted about the place. Oh, and find the exit.

Why was it a classic?

The basic mechanics were lifted from much-loved 8-bit arcade title Boulder Dash, which in itself was a good start. But they were fashioned into something unique, swapping out the older title’s frenetic gameplay for chilled-out and exploratory fare.

The game worked beautifully with a single thumb, built a map as you went, and was flexible regarding failure – if you got stuck, you blew up the Captain and then re-entered the current location. Plus the game could be very silly (Space busses! Space station disco!) and looked gorgeous with its simulated old-school CRT display.


Where is it now?

Captain Cowboy mysteriously vanished from the App Store years ago. OK, maybe it wasn’t a mystery – we can surmise not enough people bought this brilliant game, at its low price of $2.99, and so the dev closed their App Store account. Tsk. It’s as if people refusing to pay a few bucks for a game might have ushered in an era of games being packed full of adverts and IAPs instead…

But we recently heard all might not be lost (including the Captain himself) – the creator told us he was “gonna rebuild [the game] for new systems eventually.” In the meantime, we glumly watched Captain Cowboy’s superb trailer, idly refreshing the App Store, just in case. And then we got a message from the developer that they’d reactivated their App Store account, and are even working on a sequel. So: a happy ending for everyone. Well, apart from the Captain, who’s still buried under 500 tons of space rocks.

Get Captain Cowboy (now free) from the App Store.