Adam “Tidegear” Milecki reviews Art Style: Cubello for the Nintendo Wii
Cubello is the second game to be released in Nintendo’s “Art Style” series of WiiWare games. For my take on the the Art Style series as a whole, see paragraph two of my Orbient review. Cubello attempts a unique and arguably more complex take on the style of gameplay made popular by games like Bust-A-Move (aka Puzzle Bobble).
In Cubello, the player must aim the Wii remote and use an on-screen crosshair to fire colored blocks at a 3D mass of colored blocks known as a “Cubello”. Connecting four or more similar blocks causes them to fall away. Any connected blocks will then collapse inward toward the core of the Cubello. Taking too many shots will spawn a growth of cubes. Firing blocks also causes the Cubello to quickly spin around according to how it was hit. This is critical to the game as the player is only able to fire blocks at visible sides of blocks and there is no other way to rotate the Cubello.
Additionally, there is a queue, or “magazine”, displayed on screen, filled with blocks to be fired. Unless matches are continually made, the magazine will be exhausted and the game will end. The Cubello also slowly moves toward the player. Firing blocks moves it back slightly while making matches moves it even further. Lastly, making matches causes symbols in the corner of the screen to shuffle like a slot machine, occasionally activating “bonus time”. Bonus time allows firing an endless supply of blocks the same color until that color is completely eliminated from the Cubello.
Cubello has more strategic depth and differs significantly than single player in Bust-A-Move, so it definitely should not be seen as a clone or knock-off. Fans of Bust-A-Move and similar games will find something different, new and enjoyable here. The game can be very fast-paced at times and it’s possible to fall into a nice groove making matches and chains, properly timing shots with the decelerating spin of the Cubello. It’s virtually a light-gun shooter gone action/puzzler, as good aim is necessary. Luckily, the controls are quite precise.
There are plenty of stages to play- I even unlocked an “Endless” mode after a while of playing. My only real complaint is that while the stages do get progressively harder and more complex, there isn’t much significant variation in the levels. I would have liked to see special types of blocks having various effects. Then again, Tetris is great despite its simplicity and Cubello does quite well being fun while remaining uncomplicated. Lastly, the game could have done something interesting with two players but unfortunately, it is single player only.
The sound is competent with futuristic ambient music and sound effects, as well as a robotic voice that talks throughout the game. I was expecting it to become irritating but it didn’t. It became more like an ambient soundtrack, with the benefit of telling me what color I just fired. Graphically, I liked the minimalist look of the game but some of the color choices were a bit too similar-looking at times. Usually the solution was as simple as pausing for a second to determine if a block looked more blue or green, but it made the game a bit more challenging. Whether or not this was intended by the developer I don’t know, but it’s not too bad and altering the brightness setting in the game options seems to help. (It might just be my display setup.)
Cubello may be simple and have quirky, if not slightly flawed, design but it’s another good little Art Style game and I’m a fan. While I’m not sure I like it as much as Orbient, for 600 points ($6 USD) just like Orbient, it’s a great value.