We've all been victims of it one time or another (and if you haven't, I pity you). Addiction, obsession, compulsive behavior, all provoked by the simplest type of game available-puzzle games. Recently, a number of puzzle games have swept the Internet. But look out Bejeweled, there's a new kid on the block, and he's going by the name of Cuboingo. And get this-it'll cost you five dollars less to curb your addiction than many of those other titles (OK, so $14.99 isn't a HUGE difference, but seriously, we're talking about puzzle games here). What exactly gives this game its addictive character? Read on. It's very different than anything you've tried before.
There's not much to expect from sound when it comes to puzzle games on the PC. Most of them simply offer basic, uninspired sound, with a few bells and whistles thrown in. Thankfully, this isn't entirely the case when it comes to Cuboingo. Firstly, let's talk about the music. Like nearly all current puzzle games, Cuboingo uses electronic music. This seems to be a genre of music that almost anyone likes-or can at least tolerate - so it was a nice choice. However, for people who can simply not tolerate it (or for those who simply want to play their own music), you can customize the scripts (explained later) to play your own music. This is possible because the game uses the popular MP3 format - a very good feature.
Sound effects aren't too impressive, however. They are of ample quality, but there really isn't a whole lot there. The sound effects basically only consist of the rotation of the cube and the blocks that hit the cube. In Cuboingo's defense, I'll admit that the nature of the game doesn't really allow much room for a lot of sound effects; but there could've been a little bit more.
This is where it gets interesting. Instead of making another clone (or spin-off) of Tetris, Breakout, or any other old title, Senntient went for an approach that is almost completely original. Think of the old plastic Rubik's Cube toy you used to have (or should have had in my opinion), and then think of Tetris. Combine the two and you get the fun and addicting Cuboingo.
You start off (and end) with a cube consisting of one, four, or nine different boxes on the face of each side of the cube. Each box can have a different color and design that you must fill in. Once every box on the cube is filled, you move on to the next level of the game. Filling these boxes in is where the similarity to Tetris comes in. First you will notice one or more colored beams of light (indicating which box should be filled)
shining on the specific box(es) that the falling square(s) will land on. Then, before the falling square hits the cube you must rotate your cube in a direction that will allow the correct box to be filled. Let the wrong box be hit and you'll end up with a mistake-make three mistakes and the game is over. If you completed every level within the given time limit, you've won and become a Cuboingo champion. This formula makes for a fun original game unlike anything before.
One excellent aspect of the game is the way it allows you to customize your games. Cuboingo's games and levels are created by "scripts" which can be read and edited by any text editor. This allows you to make your own custom games (customizing the number of levels, the time limit, the difficulty, the music that is played, and much, much more). At the time of this review, there were already some new scripts on the game's website to add to Cuboingo.
One downside to the gameplay was the controls. It seemed a little awkward rotating and spinning the cube using the number pad's keys. It took a while to get used to how to spin the cube correctly. Another downside was the (sometimes) insane difficulty. The beginner script was pretty easy and allowed me to get used to the controls, but after I went to the second-easiest script available the game started to become immensely difficult. You can create your own script that would be better for the
"next step" in difficulty, but that could take a while. It took a lot of playing before I could complete the second-easiest game-and it wasn't as much of a challenge as it was a frustration.
Most puzzle games' graphics are simply a plethora of sprites and other 2D images and animations. Cuboingo takes a different approach. The team at Senntient decided to actually use polygons, which gave it a much more modern 3D feel than other puzzle games. The rest of the graphics weren't the best, though. The textures were a bit blurry, and the boxes on the cube seemed a bit plain.
Puzzle gamers unite! A new and original game has surfaced and you now have yet another means of wasting your time in endless fun! Other gamers should definitely at least give the (now available)