There are two types of people on this earth. Those who can complete a Rubik’s Cube. And those who can’t.
I’m most definitely in the latter camp.
For years I’ve sat and wondered how on earth a seemingly ordinary person can pick up the old multicoloured cube and within a matter of minutes, or indeed seconds, have it all looking pretty, with all the tiles in a decent enough fashion to quell even the most intense of OCD sufferers fears.
It’s probably these same people who will take a huge liking to Cubikolor.
Cubikolor is, without beating around the bush, a damn fine puzzler. But that doesn’t necessarily make it a damn fine game and I have to admit to struggling somewhat with both the gameplay mechanics and the sheer amount of luck that is needed in order to succeed.
Split over 15 various areas and 150 levels, Cubikolor sees you controling a small, beautifully coloured Kube. It is up to you to navigate that Kube through the puzzles in front of you until you reach the final end goal, outwitting the traps that The System, an evil scheming entity, has laid down before you.
With your Kube seeing its sides filled with different colours, it is a relatively simple matter of matching up each side with the corresponding platform colour in order to move around the puzzles. I say relatively, because much like the original cube of Rubik, you’re either going to completely ‘get’ how Cubikolor works, or you’re going to struggle horribly. Now, if you match colours together, you’ll find that the platforms you hit will move up. Fail to have two corresponding hues touching though and the platforms will work in reverse, taking you down into the depths of each stage. It is only with your own logic and a huge deal of patience in place where you’ll find yourself succeeding, riding the correct waves and finally reaching the end goal for each puzzle.
Manage to do so and you’ll get ranked on three aspects – the time taken to complete it, the number of moves you’ve used and how often you’ve had to use the absolute life saving ‘go back’ button to rectify a mistake. Fly through the stages and you’ll get treated to a gold medal as well, although one slip will see that quickly removed and leave you as nothing more than a mere runner up. You can of course go back to run through each stage further times as you attempt to beat your previous score, but without any online leaderboard in place, will rarely feel the need. I mean seriously, I know Cubikolor is a small indie title, but it’s crying out for the chance to compare your medals, your times or the number of moves you’ve taken with a friend or the world. As it stands though, you’ll be left with little reason in trying to beat your own times.
The main problem I have with Cubikolor though is that it’s nigh on impossible to really work out what is going to happen. Not only do you have to think at least twenty steps in advance (with even more required on the latter levels that can see hundreds of moves being needed), but even then, there is far too much sitting and hoping that something will work out well, instead of being able to carefully plan it. Now, the end goal for each stage usually consists of hitting a key but after slowly being drawn in, will find that many of the levels in place will see you needing to hunt down multiple ones for completions sake. There are also the occasional stages which will bring you a certain time limit, or finite number of moves in order to complete them, and I guess these do allow for some other form of tactical nous to come into play. Ultimately though the vast majority of what is on offer will see you sitting around, slowly trying to work out the best plan of action before quickly screaming at your TV as things go awry.
Once you’ve made your way through all the levels in place and found yourself happy with your overall move count and running time, then there is the option to jump back into each stage yet again but in a trickier fashion. I’m not for one minute going to pretend that I know how good this mode is as my overall time with Cubikolor still ensures that the Hardkore mode is completely locked down – but should you be able to work your way around the slightly mind twisting mechanics that the game brings, any mode will be a good mode.
As you would expect from a simplistic but hugely complex puzzler, both the visual and the audio side of Cubikolor is minimal at best with very little to write home. They both do the job intended but you’re never going to find yourself wowed by either. The movable camera works well with the minimalist 3D world and is a smooth, rather essential tool for sending you on the best route to Kube mastery. When combined with the somewhat relaxing backing tune, you can be sure that Cubikolor attempts to reassure you with every step. Whether either are victorious in calming you down enough I’m not too sure though.
Unfortunately, there is a distinct lack of help available for anyone hit with colour blindness and Cubikolor is most definitely a game that those who suffer from it will very quickly find frustrating. It would have been nice to have seen Fractal Box and Moving Player put some kind of measure in place to allow everyone to experience a bit of Kube rolling action, but perhaps that is something which can be added at a later date.
Overall though and for all its good intentions, Cubikolor plays out much like a game that relies on huge slices of luck rather than mental preparation and involvement. And that’s a bit of a shame because due to the large number of times you’ll find yourself rolling your Kube back and forth, over and over again in an attempt to hopefully get things sitting pretty, it will ensure that the whole fun factor that is initially promised is swiftly removed.
There are two types of gamers on this earth. Those who will love Cubikolor. And those who will bloody well hate it.
Which camp will you fall into? Go grab that Kube and find out.
Related: Let’s Play Cubikolor on Xbox One!