What do you get when you have a fat man on a rope, a couple of magnets, an evil scientist, and a ton of cubes all in the same game? You get Brush and Code’s newest game, Cubicity. The game has the potential to be a great puzzle/action game. It’s definitely headed in the right direction but still leaves much to be desired.
Cubicity is a 2D physics-based puzzle game where you play the role of Seamus, our protagonist who is suspended from a rope, as you try to solve around 60 somewhat-challenging puzzles. You can move him left and right at the top of the screen, but in order to move from top to bottom, you’ll need to pick up multiple cubes to weigh Seamus down. If you’re smart enough to make it to the last level, you’ll face off against the evil Dr. Shmeev Shmobs in a one-on-one battle. Dr. Shmobs is irrelevant to the game besides the fact these puzzles all take place in his not-so secret laboratory. The fact that he is even mentioned is beyond me as the game doesn’t give any backstory explaining his character.
The object of the game is very simple; take the uniquely colored cube and place it in the goal. Piece of cake right? Well, only at first. What makes the game challenging is the addition of obstacles, weapons, and eventually a life bar when you get to the stage where those obstacles start to attack you. You start off with a single magnet which allows you to pick things up and put them down in order to maneuver your special cube to its destination to complete each stage.
As the game progresses, you are awarded more weapons to help you on your way. The weapons also add a degree of difficulty of the game since one of them isn’t always available after you achieve it. Your initial weapon will pick up the cube, and later weapons will magnetize the cubes, fuse multiple cubes together, or create portals for you to change sides of the screen when obstacles are in your way.
Cubicity‘s technical side is decent at best. The gameplay controls are spotty at times. There were gamepad issues as Seamus doesn’t always respond to the Xbox controller’s right thumb stick commands. This really causes a problem as sometimes, the game requires sniper-like precision in puzzles. The issues didn’t stop there though. The game crashed several times, only adding to the frustration.
Once you get past the controls and errors in coding, you’ll notice the element of physics implemented well here. The fact that you have to pick up multiple boxes to weigh yourself down and maneuver around obstacles clearly shows that the developers paid attention the laws of physics. Also, when you’re placing your cubes, you have to be very careful of the angle that you deploy them or else they will end up in an undesired position.
Unfortunately, after a few levels, the neat display of physics wears off and monotony kicks in. The developers allow you to drown in its repetitiveness for too long before refreshing you with elements to the game. As many levels that are in the game, there could have been more weapons added or else the game should have been shortened. Take the original Tetris for example. Elorg was able to find a healthy balance between simple gameplay and degree of difficulty, which caused the game to have great replay value. Just before the game became too repetitive, it would increase the speed and change the colors in order to slightly override the monotony. It was a subtle change, but it was just enough to keep the player from feeling like it was same thing over and over again since it was done at the right time.
When additional elements are added to Cubicity, they’re great. You go from a simple puzzler to a more difficult puzzler with homing missiles and turrets trying to kill you, but the amount of time it took in order to get to this point, made Cubicity difficult to stay involved in.
Cubicity‘s artistry was impressive. It wasn’t over-the-top and it helped keep me engaged in the game. If you pay close attention to Seamus and his facial expressions, you’ll get a kick out of some of the things that he does. Every level background was painted with great detail and didn’t hinder your gameplay at all. With that being said, the music detracted from the artwork. It either did not complement the level design or was nonexistent.
Cubicity has the potential to be a great puzzle game after some revision. It’s very original and it possesses a degree of difficulty that keeps you engaged in it. Problems arise in the consistency of adding new gameplay elements though, and it ends up dampening the whole experience. The controls are erratic at times and the absence of a storyline left me hanging. Cubicity‘s inconsistencies brought me to the verge of completely losing my interest, and only barely managed to recapture it with the addition of new elements.
*Review Based On Final Code Product Provided By BrushAndCode*