As Xbox gamers in 2016, we’ve come to expect three things from new games. We want games that have a visual quality surpassing anything we’ve seen before. They must be enjoyable to play and they will, on the whole, come with an extortionate price tag.
Cubot – The Complexity of Simplicity however only really hits the mark with two of those three statements. Thankfully it comes with a lovely crisp graphical stance, which although doesn’t set the world on fire, works really well. It is also rather enjoyable to spend time with. We’re a little bit shocked therefore that Cubot comes in at a stupidly low price point.
Dismissing something due to its price is something that the modern society is famed for. Brand names mean big bucks, but they also mean top quality, with a smaller price usually being associated with something of inferior grade. This extends quite neatly into the videogame industry, one in which AAA titles regularly go for £50+ and the better titles that come from smaller independent developers quite easily nudging the £20 barrier. A game that costs a mere £1.59 (yes, that’s less than two quid at launch), will therefore be overlooked by many as something which is quite obviously ‘not good’.
And that’s a real shame because what Nicoplv Games have created with Cubot is something that should be enjoyed by all.
A puzzle title with the most minimalist feel, there is nothing to the gameplay other than moving coloured cubes around a number of tiled levels in order to eventually see said cubes all settled on their ending spots. Get them all in the right positions and you’ll be swept nicely onto the next level.
Starting off by learning the basics of the blue cube, Cubot holds your hand just enough to ensure that you’ve grasped the block rolling nature perfectly before throwing something else into the equation. Complete the ‘Blue Cube’ levels and you’ll find yourself being slowly introduced to new cubes – and this is where things start to get a little tricky.
The Red Cube is next up, bringing in a jump of two tiles for every one movement of your thumbstick. You will quickly realise that whilst this isn’t an issue when it is by itself, add our favourite bluey to the equation and we’ll have two (or more) cubes moving simultaneously around the board at completely different speeds. Throw in some buttons that must be hit in order to unlock blocked off areas and it is highly apparent that Cubot becomes a tough little cookie to beat.
From there, we get acquainted with the Green Cube which moves in the completely opposite direction to the blue and the Purple Cube which mimics that of the red – except for the fact it moves in the polar opposite. Get all these bad boys together on one level, with the sole aim of making them all hit their corresponding homes at the same time, and you’ll be left tearing your hair out at numerous moments…even more so when the Orange Cube gets thrown into action later in the day. This one refuses to move, unless you manage to get another cube to attach to it, creating even more chaos and frustration.
But the cubes aren’t the only things you’ll have to deal with as alongside the inclusion of buttons and blockers pretty early on in the day, colour swap tiles (which do exact as their name suggest), teleporters (can you guess what they do?) and autoblockers mix things up massively. Whilst all are introduced slowly throughout the course of the ten episodes, you only need to move two or three stages into each segment before you’ll find levels that will need anything up to, and possibly even beyond, 100 moves to complete – with each wrong move sending you down a blind alley with little chance of return. Much of your time spent with Cubot will consist of you scratching your head, too afraid to make the next move in case it turns into something of a disaster, but the joy and relief you get when you finally complete a tough 60+ move stage is indescribable.
With 10 stages containing eight levels each, some of which will see you having to navigate your way across the vertical axis as well as horizontal ones, Cubot will keep you busy for a couple of hours, after which even the least aggressive trial and error players should have managed to complete everything that is on offer. Each level is well designed and whilst many will no doubt have multiple paths to success, you’ll be looking for the minimum moves possible each and every time, something which the cool, calm background music tries to help achieve. Relaxation and a clear mind is key to success in Cubot.
And it is about here where most of the replayability comes in. Trying to match the par times that are set for each stage is something you’ll have nightmares about. Whilst there is no way on this earth you’ll hit the minimum moves for each stage on your first go through, there is at least the chance to go back over the ones which caused the most hassle and attempt to replay them again in less moves – even if that means you have to cheat a little and consult the in-game solutions board or take a trip to your favourite Youtube channel. The former option is quite obviously the less defeatist especially since you’ll need to earn enough tokens in order to unlock each solution, but without either choice, I fear many would lose weeks of sleep.
Overall and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Cubot – The Complexity of Simplicity; except possibly that the name is a bit too long to be typing out multiple times. With an obvious mobile background, the price is right down there with something you’d expect to buy on Android or iOS, not our super powerful Xbox One consoles. But it is the price which makes it what it is, and that is something which is quite possibly the one game that everyone in the gaming world should be buying and owning – even those Call of Duty shooters and Forza racers who would normally dismiss a puzzle title out of hand.
Cubot has proved that a game can be top quality, enjoyable and above all else, cheap!
Related: Let’s Play Cubot on Xbox One