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Cube Review

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Developer: Metia Interactive Publisher: D3 Publisher
Release Date: May 1, 2007 Also On: None

As if the PlayStation Portable were not lacking enough puzzle games, D3 Publisher of America has decided to release a new one named Cube. It’s a clever little game with some neat concepts and a relatively steep difficulty, but is hindered by bad graphics and an iffy camera (notorious in PSP games these days). What it lacks in graphics D3 tried valiantly to make up in the addition of a level editor, something we rarely see in games of any type. But with such a crowded field of games in the genre, can Cube compete with the likes of Lumines and Mercury Meltdown? Read on to find out.

The gimmick with this puzzle game is in the name. You control a cube. What is a cube anyway? A six sided solid square object with right angles for sides. If that’s not a good enough hint of where they’re going with this, I can’t give you a better one. The whole idea behind Cube is to put you in a 3D space where you can manipulate your cube around the mazes. You can climb up and around any of the cubed blocks that make up the level. I have to give the developers credit, I really have never seen a game done like this.

The goal of each level is to reach the portal. Easy enough, right? Seems to be the point of a lot of puzzle games these days. The trouble is that there are hazards along the way such as bombs and shooters (which have a set way point), as well as AI, which can attack you. Other objects include an arrow that sticks to your cube to redirect bombs, a guider arrow which redirects bombs (but doesn’t stick to your cube), push cubes which will fill gaps for you, and breakaway cubes that will disintegrate after a few seconds of touching them. If you collect all of the keys along the way, you will be able to earn a gold, but only if your time permits the distinction.

The controls are simple enough. You control your cube with the d-pad, moving in any of four directions that you are allowed to move in. The camera is controlled with the analog nub but readjusts itself when you move your cube. Since the camera angles can get chaotic, it is always good to watch the level overview before each level and map out a route to take. In many cases, keys and such are placed in a logical order that will almost guide you to the goal. If you find this trick, you should do pretty well.

There is no variety to speak of with really only nine backgrounds throughout the game. The game has three difficulty areas, and each difficulty has three zones, so one background per zone. With the objects that litter the levels, your eyes will see some difference other than the design of the mazes, but the lack of many backgrounds is disappointing indeed. As far as sound is concerned, there are some sound effects from hitting objects, explosions and whatnot, but the music is pretty plain. The sound, like the graphics, is quite uninteresting and uninspired.

I had a fun time playing this unique puzzle game. The camera will impede your progress quite a bit, and the graphics will irk you for their lack of style, but it still can be an entertaining experience. I enjoyed figuring out what I needed to do with each object (and which to avoid), clearing a path with a well-placed arrow to guide a bomb or simply pushing a push cube around a level to fill a gap in a path. There are some clever moments in Cube that will put a smile on your face, yet its shortcomings will always be there to remind you. If you are a hardcore fan of puzzle games, you shouldn’t miss this one. For everyone else, I would suggest sticking with Lumines.

Graphics: 5
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 6.4
Written by Kyle Review Guide