As I child, I relinquished hundreds of life-hours to puzzle games like Boxxle, Lemmings, and my personal favorite- Boulder Dash. Each of these titles was built around a similar formula: using a limited skill set players must navigate through an increasingly complex set of logic conundrums. Periodically, a brain-teaser would appear impossible to solve. At that point, I would cease playing, until my daily routine was interrupted by a cognitive epiphany. Then, I would rush back to the game to test my postulation. Frequently, they were correct and I’d progress further until another mental roadblock appeared.
Playing recent Playstation Store release Cuboid has reminded me of those beloved moments. CREAT studios has created a puzzler, that while graphically impressive, seems rooted in the puzzle games of the late 1980’s. Some players, upon examining the title, may have little interest in a game so limited in its execution. However, for the player seeking a strong mental workout, Cuboid has few peers.
Players use the d-pad to control a block column, flipping the object toward a blue exit square. When the block is on its side, it rolls along; when the object is upright, it flips end over end. Players must keep more than half of the block on the playfield, which is composed of a set of squares set upon a grid. Move the object too far, and the block tumbles into the abyss, resetting the cuboid to its original position. Later variations include wood planks that break from too much weight, and switches that cause sections of the playfield to rise and fall.
While the game has sixty-six levels, I found myself embarrassingly frustrated at the fifth round. Even expert puzzlers should expect Cuboid to assault their ego- the game gets incredibly devious quite early on. After a ten minute reprieve, I returned to the game equipped with a potential solution. Clearly, this is a game that demands intermittent play.
Cubiod’s proceedings are depicted with a graphical lushness uncharacteristic of most puzzler games. Typically, the puzzle genre is regulated to the utilitarian imagery found in titles like Echochrome. The main block is textured with zodiac symbols, and the background is composed of cathedrals, archways, and ruins. For some players, these graphical details while prove to be superfluous, as they will be concentrating with feverish intensity at the game’s puzzles.
The game’s chief fault is it’s adherence to a close-ended answer set. Each of the game’s puzzles has a very limited amount of solutions. While the title tracks the number of player moves, and solution time, once the player understand the ‘hook’ of a level, obtaining a gold rating is relatively effortless. The inclusion of a level editor and the ability to trade maps would have given the game a huge boost in longevity. Like most games of the genre, once a puzzle is solved, it offers no interest in replay.
For players seeking mental calisthenics, we can’t think of a better way to give your neocortex a healthy workout. Like physical exercise, we recommend players exert themselves too much at a single sitting; it could be detrimental to your controller’s health. For players, that have no interest in a puzzler that completely rebuffs reflexes and hand-eye coordination, Cubiod itself will be a conundrum.
Edit: After this review was posted, the developers contacted us, stating that a level editor, additional levels, and custom music was going to be added to Cuboid. These will be available for a “very reasonable” price, according to CREAT.