Cube – PSP – Preview 2

How do you define art? Is it
comprised of many shapes and colors? Does it move you emotionally or
physically? Or both? Does it make you think? Does it test your intelligence?

If art is any of those things,
then it might very well fall in line with Cube, a new puzzler for the PSP.
It’s an entirely original concept that, if the preview build is any
indication, will receive a near-flawless execution.


 

Oh! Gravity

Cube looks confusing. When I first
perused our database of screenshots, all I saw were blocks. Now that I’ve
played the game, I see several intricately designed levels. I see a main
character. And I see obstacles that must be overcome.

You play as a cube that, not
unlike Mario in his upcoming Galaxy adventure, has little regard for gravity.
The clock can and will fall into the abyss if you make a mistake. But
throughout most of the game the cube will hang on tight to all other blocks.

Every move you make is worth one
cube space. Since gravity is not an issue, you can climb on any side of the
stationary cubes (I like to think of those as blocks). The blocks are formed
together as one, or will be by the end of the mission. In some
instances you’ll have to push blocks together to create a link to the next
area.

To better understand the game,
take a good look at this screenshot. Note the yellow cube in the center of the
screen (the one that’s glowing).

 

From that position, if I were to
press left on the D-pad, the block would shift down to the other side of the
yellow block it’s currently resting on. The camera quickly adjusts to
compensate for the change, providing the best possible view in almost all
cases. Your cube is now sideways, but the view changes to avoid any likely
frustrations.

From the starting position, if I
press up my cube moves to the blue square. If I press up again it moves down
on the side of the blue square, sending the camera up and angled to keep the
view steady with the rest of the game.

As you play the game and begin to
run through motions, your cube will hop around the squares and flip around so
much that it’s almost dizzying – and yet at the same time, somewhat pleasant.
I love the experience. Cube makes it easy to forget that you’re controlling
something as simple as a cube.

Collection, Avoidance

On your journey of gravity
defiance, you should notice that keys are located in almost every level. They
are often on the top, sides, and underneath blocks you must traverse.

In a world where no obstacles
remained, it would be easy to snatch the keys. But in Cube’s world you have to
contend with spiked roller bombs – explosive objects that roll around the
environment and destroy your cube on impact. There are disappearing blocks,
the kind that fade away after your first contact with them. Stay on too long
and they won’t be the only things that fade away. But that’s not necessarily
the worst-case scenario. If you don’t look ahead during the game intro (which
shows a 360-degree spinning view of the stage), you may be unaware of an
upcoming obstacle. That mistake could leave you on a single block with nowhere
to go.

Spiked balls, no matter how
hazardous, do have a helpful side effect. The balls only move if there is an
arrow on one of the blocks. Those arrows are generally movable. If you change
the direction of the arrow, you’ll change the direction of the spiked ball. It
sounds simple – it might even sound like the simplest thing in the game. But
that couldn’t be further from the truth. To make the balls go where you want,
and to collect all the keys and reach the goal before the time runs out,
you’ll whip across those blocks, take major risks, and endure hours of
failure.

If this doesn’t sound like the
kind of puzzle game you’d enjoy, then chances are Cube is not for you. But
it’s impossible to completely grasp without actually playing the game.
Contrary to the belief that puzzlers are created for a casual audience, this
could be a game that primarily serves the hardcore crowd.

 

Shipping to stores at the end of
May, Cube is an exquisite and challenging puzzler that will rock the world of
anyone who tries to solve its masterful mysteries.