Reviewed April 2009 by Keith Murray
Puzzle games are perfect fodder for the likes of PSN and XBLA. Quick and rewarding plays condensed into small bite-sized chunks are the norm in these games, but what happens when something more considered and, dare we say, challenging is required? Maybe Cuboid is the answer.
The aim of the game is to guide the titular three dimensional rectangle across grids of different shapes and styles within the least amount of moves. The rectangle can be moved up, down and if space allows, flipped over onto its side. All stages are suspended in mid air, and failure comes from dropping off the edge. Time is also measured, with gold medals rewarded for those who manage to traverse the puzzle in super-fast time.
While the player will breeze through the initial puzzles, the game starts to introduce more cunning varieties which will infuriate until they stumble across the answer with a giant smile and a simultaneous face palm. With good reason too – the rise in difficulty is complimented by switches which extend and retract platforms or wooden slats that can only be traversed sideways, with a plummet to certain doom being the reward for tipping the rectangle on its front.
As the game cycles through its different party pieces, the player gains the ability to split the rectangle into two different segments which can then be used to teleport to different places and trigger switches. By differentiating between using the X button, the player has to marry them back up without the drop of doom. And even when those difficulties are overcome, introducing limited moves which can only be increased by collecting plus signs, goes a long way to the image the developers cackling with glee at their evil plan.
What boggles the mind is taking a moment away from the action, and noticing that several hundred moves have been instigated to get to the exit. It really does take the player by surprise and such a simple game mechanic goes a long way to pushing them along by aiming for better, quicker times and the personal satisfaction that comes with it.
Players will certainly be impressed with just how good Cubiod looks. The game is imbued with a neo-classical look, married to a soothing soundtrack which adds to the lush presentation. While there is only really two game modes (beginner and expert), and no multiplayer (although leaderboards are incorporated), there is enough for players to get their head around and more, importantly, enjoy.
Very much a thinking gamers’ game, Cuboid proves that puzzle games can provide intelligence and depth and comes highly recommended.