Farming games, especially the likes of Farming Simulator, often entail performing a raft of complex routines. They have you ploughing, sowing and harvesting repetitively, which is heaven for certain folks. Occasionally though, you just want something a little simpler and that’s where Cube Farmer comes in.
Cube Farmer is a puzzler involving farming, but not in a conventional sense and it’s definitely not easy. But is it worth spending your cash and brain power on? Or should you harvest your cash for something else?
The puzzling found in Cube Farmer takes place across forty levels, each represented by an island or archipelago in need of irrigation. To do this, you must place a water cube in the correct position, which is essentially a cube-shaped hole surrounded by crop patches. Only then will the likes of carrots, cabbages and watermelons be able to flourish, indicating your job there is complete. And then it’s off to the next island.
You’re literally just rolling a 3D cube around the islands, but you must ensure the water design is on the top-side fascia when it slots into place. That alone isn’t going to be too taxing however, hence there’s a limit to the number of rotations performed to navigate the cube towards its final destination in each level. Run out of moves and the level is reset, so you need to be sparing. Still, the ingenuity in the early stages is underwhelming and the difficulty is lacking… until the other elements are introduced at least.
In a bid to avoid the concept getting stale, developers Colossus Game Studio bring in a couple of new mechanics. The first of them sees teleport-like devices transport any cube that enters it to wherever the corresponding coloured teleport is. It’s a perfectly fine, but fairly unoriginal idea that’s easy to get to grips with. It’s certainly not as impactful as the addition of more cubes and holes to fill though, which ramps up the difficulty immensely.
Planning ahead the manoeuvres of a single cube is a breeze compared to inputting directions that affect up to four cubes simultaneously. You may be able to place one of the cubes easily, yet fail due to an inability to weigh up the knock-on effects of the moves made. The old grey matter is bound to be tested as a result.
There’s no doubt Cube Farmer becomes a real challenge from the halfway mark onwards and at its peak, combines multiple cubes and teleports for a whole new kind of hell. You’ll be wishing for an undo button when you get close to a solution, before making a costly mistake. It’s hard not to wish there were other mechanics brought into play either because there’s nothing groundbreaking here and, difficulty aside, things tend to get samey.
On the visual front, the low poly art style provides a surprisingly colourful setting for proceedings. Everything is bright and bursting with colour, which goes hand in hand with the upbeat soundtrack that just fits the farming theme excellently. Will the music be annoying to listen to on a loop after fifteen failed attempts to work out the correct solution? Without a shadow of a doubt – but given the fact a logical thinker could finish off the forty levels in a couple of hours, you can grin and bear it.
One really irritating aspect though involves unlocking achievements on Xbox. Garnering the full amount of Gamerscore won’t throw a spanner in the works in terms of requirements, however you have to reselect your Xbox profile upon a cheevo popping. It’s a nuisance every time. Everything else works fine, so it’s a bizarre issue to have.
Cube Farmer puts satisfactory puzzles as one of its key features and you can’t argue it doesn’t deliver that, but not much more. A challenging experience with a lovely and vibrant art style aside, it lacks innovative ideas and longevity to reach heights of a great puzzler. The low price and fairly swift 1000 Gamerscore might sweeten the deal a little, however it won’t leave a lasting impression.
With Cube Farmer you reap what you sow in the sense that you can get a cheap and decent puzzler for a cheap and decent price.
Cube Farmer is out now on the Xbox Store