What do you get if you cross a Rubik’s Cube type puzzler, Q-bert and 60 cups of coffee, well apart from Dave and Rich’s lovechild (just seeing if they actually read this) the answer is a colourful yet sometimes stressful cube rolling puzzler called Cubikolor. Now I’m not someone who gives up easily but there is a point in a game when you ask yourself “god damn why am I doing this to myself” as you fling your headset, controller, and anything else you can get your hands on, and unfortunately the cat fell victim to this, across the room in despair.
Developed by Fractal Box and published by Moving Player, Cubikolor puts you in control of a multi-colored cube which you move around a 3D environment. The intention is to reach a cube marked with a keyhole to progress to the next level. Sounds easy but there is a catch, as the majority of levels require specific blocks to be unlocked by matching or not in some cases the color of your cube face with the tile you are landing on. By matching your cube with the tile you land on you will go up one level, (in height that is) and if the colors don’t match you will go down one level. Again, this sounds easy but there are also booby-trapped cubes and multi-colored cubes thrown in just to make your life that little bit more complicated.
Controls are simple and you navigate the cube around the game using the left thumbstick. If you get stuck by making the wrong choice and you will, you can press the B button and you will go back several moves. Y brings up the on screen help menu and if all else fails you can press X to restart the level. As I progressed through the game I found myself using the X button more than I care to mention as by making a wrong choice during the game can literally mean you will end up getting stuck with nowhere to go. This meant that there was a lot of forward thinking and planning involved in the later stages of the game which really did seem to slow the natural flow of the game down.
Now some puzzlers can be short lived but Cubikolor brings with it a huge 150 levels, fair enough they are all based around navigating around mazes with a colorful cube but with fifteen stages and ten levels in each stage there is enough to keep anyone busy. As you can imagine the levels get progressively more difficult with the introduction of multiple keyholes that you have to unlock the higher the level of game you are playing. Now this is where the flow of the game becomes a pain, as if you get stuck and have to reset and you then find yourself repeating it all over again. If you have a short memory, you might find yourself getting stuck elsewhere where you didn’t go wrong before. This is the point you might want to throw some things and shout loudly, and inevitably ask the question, why are you putting yourself through this. Adding a timer to this also just heightens the stress levels and after completion of some puzzles a quiet lay down in a darkened room is required.
Once you finally do complete a level your reward comes in the form of a shiny bronze, silver or gold medal based on the amount of moves and time you took. This is a nice and simple representation of how you are doing or not as the case maybe. Once you have cleared the sometimes impossible task of all 10 levels it will then allow you to progress on to the next stage to repeat the process until you are a true champion and all 150 are complete, now you can try Hardkore mode. The one thing however you cannot say about Cubikolor is that it’s dull. The colors and sound are vibrant and, well let’s say bouncy, which I found really draws you into the game and before you know it you’ve spent hours flicking a small cube around a screen into the early hours of the morning.
Cubikolor is a great idea for a game but the planning and unforgiveness really took the edge off it for me. Saying that, it’s executed well and the smoothness of the navigation and controls, sounds and colors really made it enjoyable, when I wasn’t shouting at my screen.
Thanks to Xbox and Fractal Box for supporting TiX