Cuboid

With Killzone 2 and Street Fighter IV due later this month, February was already packed full of exciting PS3 games. Apparently unsatisfied with this, the Playstation Store has added even more value early in 2009, with two cracking downloadable titles available this week: Lumines: Supernova, reviewed seperately, and Cuboid. It might be an incredibly simple idea, but often puzzles that look easy (like, say, the Rubik's cube) provide lasting entertainment. The basic premise is as follows: you control a cuboid which is two blocks long, one block high and one block wide (essentially two small cubes stuck together), and you can roll from one side to another (across any straight edge). The aim of the game is simply to manoeuvre the cuboid to a glowing door in the level to allow an escape. Simple right?

Cuboid

Well, obviously not, otherwise there'd be little point in the game. It's not graphically impressive at all, the sound is a bit limp and the entire presentation is quite basic, so the game really does rely completely on the puzzle elements. Luckily, these are well thought out, with some fiendish puzzles to keep you occupied. In all levels, the aim of the game is to get the cuboid safely through the glowing door, but between the start and exit, there will be gaps where the cuboid can't roll (all downward pointing faces of the cuboid must be in contact with a surface, otherwise the cuboid will topple over the edge), and also other obstacles such as creaky floorboards, where the cuboic cannot stand on end, switches, controlling bridges between areas, and teleport switches, allowing the cuboid to temporarily split in two, manoeuvre about independently, then reform to complete the level. That's essentially all there is to it (see the screenshots for a visual example), but actually getting your cuboid's position and orientation correct for each move is pleasingly mind tickling.

There are 60 levels to tackle, increasing in complexity, and also 6 special levels where there is an additional limit: you have a set number of moves with which to complete the level. For each level, there are awards to earn in two categories. Firstly, the optimality of your route is graded, with gold, silver, bronze or no award available, depending on the number of moves you took to complete the level. Secondly, your speed is classed with a text rating, ranging from Measured (if you had a good old think) through to Lightning (if you use psychic powers and cat-like thumbs). Actually, once you've completed a level once, it's usually not too hard to figure out the optimum route and practice for a good speed rating, but this is where one small criticism of the game arises: the controls are sometimes a little slow to respond. The menus are the most sluggish, but even the in-game controls will occasionally surprise you when the cuboid performs another move long after you stopped trying to pursuade the thing to roll. It doesn't cause too much frustration though, since you can swiftly get the hang of the response time, and measure your control pushes accordingly. Still, it would've been better had the problem been avoided completely.

Cuboid

Adding a little to the lastability of the game, there is trophy support, but the challenge is slightly lacking. There're trophies for beating a certain number of levels at lightning speed, and for being awarded a particular number of gold ratings, but surprisingly there's no trophy for achieving perfect results on all levels. In addition, the challenge of the existing levels is perhaps a little limited, in that once you've got the hang of manoeuvring the cuboid, it's only a matter of time before you spot the way through. Still, there's some brain-stimulating fun for a good few hours in this title and I highly recommend it. If the game were a little cheaper on the store, it'd likely get a slightly higher rating, but this basic title is a little overpriced. That said, it's one of the most enjoyable puzzle games available, and certainly worth a look.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Tik Games

Developer:

Creat Studios

Players:

1

Online:

Rankings

Release:

2009-02-05

Trophies:

24

Review summary

Gameplay:

A fun little brain bender with plenty of challenge

Graphics:

Not particularly varied or colourful, but presented well

Sound:

Very, very basic, but subtle effects work well

Lastability:

Not many puzzles but plenty of replay value

7.7

Volcanic

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