|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Metia Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: D3 Publisher||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: April 24, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
May 24, 2007 - Cube and the PSP welcome you into a new world of puzzling: one where everything goes 3D, blocks don't fall from the top of the screen, and you don't have to match colors to succeed. Cube brings you a new puzzle experience that will catch the attention of some, at least to start
Cube is the story of a 3D cube whose ultimate goal is to reach the finish line. You'll have full control of it, rolling it all the way to the end. Numerous obstacles "decorate" your path; these handicaps will force you to use alternative ways. Each level is a structure formed by a group of three-dimensional cubes arranged in all sorts of whimsical manners, creating bridges, steps, etc. You'll roll the cube throughout the stage with the D-pad and avoid the obstacles along the way by rolling the cube towards the sides of the structure, or even turning the whole stage upside-down. Spiked bombs, adhesive surfaces, fans, quick sands, and gaps are the real threats of the game; movable cubes with arrows are crucial when you need to fill in the gaps or create an extra step to help you reach a higher level. Three-dimensional Xs will build up a bridge when you touch them, and strategically positioned switches will allow you to turn off the fans or open up barriers so you can roll the cube towards the previously unavailable direction.
The gameplay of Cube relies entirely on the camera controls. Since the top of the stage can quickly become the bottom and vice versa, we should be able to turn the camera however we want. The little joystick provides you with that function; however, most of the time you'll arrange the camera view the way you want it and, once you move the cube with the cursor, the camera will go back to the previous position, which doesn't do any good at all. Why would they tease us like that? If they allow you to move the camera, they shouldn't just get you back to the bad camera angle that wasn't letting you see where to go next! Apparently, they didn't have a problem with that, and turned the game into a glitchy and completely exasperating experience. How many times have I bumped right into a spiky bomb because the camera was changed on me all of a sudden? The game shouldn't have been published until that was corrected because, in my eyes, that's a major blunder that won't let anyone enjoy the game the way they wanted.
Other than reaching the finish line as fast as you can, you'll have to try and pick up as many keys as possible. They are randomly placed throughout the stage, and they involve a bit more strategy than if you were simply trying to arrive at the goal. As you advance through the game, levels will get harder and harder, and consequently, more frustrating. This game doesn't create the kind of addiction that one would be hoping for; when a level becomes too challenging, it almost makes you want to give up and turn off the game altogether.
Several factors make this game less appetizing like the terrible camera controls, bland visuals, and redundant, almost unnoticeable music track. The different stages could look sleek and eye-popping; instead, they're just a combination of plain 3D cubes of one color, suspended in a colored background that displays insipid, geometrical motifs. The main cube is transparent and has a gleaming light inside so you can distinguish it from the other cubes that form the stage. The obstacles are equally unadorned and tasteless: a gray diamond with a few rough spikes is supposed to be a bomb; yellow and gray stripes form barriers; arrows and X elements are 3D figures that look like they were designed for a video game in the nineties; and I could go on and on. The whole game itself looks like an older, low budget title and does nothing to take advantage of the wonderful graphical capabilities of the PSP; and yet, the game still takes some time to load each stage and get you going!
The music is ordinary and boring; it tries to be modern, including that typical techno-electronica rhythm they're starting to incorporate in all the new puzzle games. However, it's not catchy and engaging like some of them are; this one you can't even hear after a while. They might as well not add a soundtrack to the game if it's just going to be like that.
With three levels of difficulty and several color-named stages, Cube offers 135 levels. They feel repetitive, but at least they're there; those who really get hooked will be able to enjoy a game of a considerable length, plus they'll be able to build their own levels from scratch with the level editor once they get the hang of it and learn how to create the suspended three-dimensional stage and place the keys and obstacles throughout. You can even send those stages to your friends and receive their designs via two-player ad-hoc connection; that adds a bit more replayability to the title.
If multiplayer action is your thing, you can also compete in three different modes: race to reach the goal, key-collecting contest, and battle for survival. The co-op mode allows you to play with (and not against) your friend, both of you trying to get to the finish line, while avoiding obstacles. Is it fun and worth it? Multiplayer mode will definitely be entertaining for those who are "entirely entertained" by the game itself. However, if you feel like you are spending your time getting angry and cursing, this is probably not for you, with multiplayer mode or not.
Now you know: this is a game for people that really REALLY like puzzle games and want to take a risk. Just don't think that because you enjoy games like Lumines, Mercury Meltdown, and Capcom Puzzle World you might enjoy this one; I didn't. You know what the best part of this UMD was? The inclusion of the demo of Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords! You might as well do some more research and choose a puzzle game that suits your gaming needs a little better, like the aforementioned, which was great.
CCC Co-Site Director