How many times have you played casual puzzle games and said to yourself “I wish there was something challenging”. Far too many puzzlers these days seek to satisfy casual gamers rather than the hardcore puzzler niche. Creat Studios and TikGames, as co-publishers and co-developers, have been hard at work making something to answer that call. Have you been seeking a unique challenge for a long time? Look no further than Cuboid.
Offering 66 levels of pure cube mayhem, Cuboid is a puzzle game that puts you in control of a prism, actually, and your goal is simple: fall through a blue hole at the end of the level. While your avatar could be better explained in a picture, you are two cubes put together, and control as such. The only controls in the game are the direction buttons, which allow you to roll your shape accordingly.
Sometimes you’ll just stop and think in order to figure out where you go next. You’ll find yourself pointing and counting at the game board, visualizing what exactly you need to do to roll your cube safely into the goal with the lowest amount of moves: this is a good thing. The vast amount of puzzle games endorse “frantic” action; Cuboid is a thinking man’s game. In order to keep gameplay fresh, every 10 levels or so in beginner mode you’ll learn a new “concept”, like “wooden boards cannot support a Cuboid unless it’s on its side.” Switches will make an appearance, as well as a unique “cube separation mechanic” that’s a ton of fun. In expert mode, you’ll learn these concepts in the first 10 levels, and it will leave you on your own from there.
Make no mistake; beginner may take a few hours, but expert mode is hard. My wife and I spent 300 moves just on level 7 (!) figuring it out. If you’re looking for an out of the box challenge, Cuboid is it. I highly recommend playing all 33 beginner levels before tackling the 33 expert ones; the learning curve is pretty spot on when it comes to understanding the mechanics of the game at the appropriate time.
In terms of visuals, the backdrops are cool looking, and reminded me instantly of God of War’s architecture and lighting. One of the game’s selling points is “soothing music”, and it delivers. If you’ve ever seen the TV show Heroes, you’ll recognize a very similar sounding track (Shenkar’s reminiscent song without the lyrics). This tune and a few other ambient tracks make up the satisfying soundtrack.
The game could have benefited from a “help system” in beginner mode. It’s understandable that when players are only introduced to part of the game, that they would want to “see” where to go a few times before becoming too frustrated to play the game.
Cuboid also suffers from a lack of multiplayer modes. It would have greatly benefited from a mode similar to the other “cube puzzler” Geon. A versus “get to the goal” mode would have been grand; either on the same map or split-screen. Its price is also a bit steep $10, but if you’re a puzzle fan, you’ll want to replay it for the leaderboards, trophies, and to get the “lowest score” on every level.
Puzzle games are all around us thanks to the DS, but I find a lot of them to be non-challenging. Cuboid is an anomaly in today’s market. Considering it’s steep price tag, I would have liked more modes, but overall it’s a very satisfying purchase for puzzle junkies.
Cuboid, while frustratingly hard sometimes, is hard to stay mad at with it’s sleek visuals.
There’s enough diversity to keep you going, but a “hint” option would have been nice to allow beginners to immerse themselves more into the game, and learn it better.
The developers boast “soothing” tunes and it delivers in spades. The sounds, from the smacking of stone on wood sound perfect.
Additional modes would have benefited this title greatly. All you really have to keep you going is the need to perfect previous levels.
Cuboid is a fresh title for puzzle junkies to enjoy, but isn’t for everyone.