There are two types of people in this world, those born during the 1980’s or those born before, those able to complete the original Rubik’s Cube puzzle the way Ernő Rubik intended and those choosing to take the cube apart piece by piece before piecing it together again in the correct order claiming to be a genius after completion. It’s worth noting before you continue reading this review that I fell into the latter camp.
Cubikolor is a cube based puzzle game from joint developers Fractal Box & Moving Player. The aim of the game is to manoeuvre a single cube with differently coloured sides from its starting point on a map constructed of other joining cubes (which I will refer to as tiles to avoid confusion) to the end keyhole tile. Simple enough concept made more difficult when combined with multi layered maps, multiple keyhole tiles, coloured tiles that rise when the corresponding colour on the cube comes face to face or lowers when the colours clash and many more elements that are able to change the way your controllable cube acts. The game requires allot of pre-planning and mapping out to ensure your cube lands the right way up throughout its course to the keyhole(s). For example one map only two tiles wide may have a keyhole on a higher platform from where you begin, one of the tiles is coloured yellow, the way up is to ensure you place your cube on the tile yellow side down so the tile rises to the same level as the key hole. Although this is a simple example of a level very early on it’s not easy as it sounds due to restrictions placed on you by the map and only gets more challenging as you progress.
Here lies the problem with Cubikolor, the difficulty is insane and requires allot of patience. The only way to truly understand the path to victory is from trial and error. There is the ability to rewind a few moves from the press of the button and the option to restart the level from holding a button down or from the pause menu. There is also a help button and when pressed the game reveals how your cube should look on certain tiles. It’s incredibly frustrating when the game shows you how your cube should look but doesn’t show you how to get there and you end up rolling around the map in the hope your cube ends up matching. It’s almost like playing with a Rubik’s Cube and having all 6 sides match but two coloured pieces are out of place, but you know moving the cube around for those two colours will result in undoing all your hard work for the other sides that are complete. It’s that level of frustration that is reminiscent of Cubikolor’s unhelpful help button.
Just when you thought Cubikolor wasn’t difficult enough the game also throws at you time constraints and limiting the amount of moves you can make adding to the frustration. Some levels through trying different options can result in getting lucky and accidentally making it to the end keyhole which is more a relief than an accomplishment, some levels have you get so close to the end goal only to realise you made a tiny mistake earlier (which could be as little as going left or right after raising a tile) meaning you have to start over again as you’re stuck with nowhere to go, trying to remember the journey you took to get there is difficult and therefore ultimately you end up starting over again.
Graphically the game is solid for what it is, the backgrounds are strong vibrant colours and the tiles reminded me of the legendary arcade game Q*Bert at times, although some maps were a little dull to look at as the un-interactive tiles are a dull grey colour and to a degree this can also go the other way, when you first load up a map and there are coloured tiles everywhere the map can feel a little overwhelming. The game does a good job to help you with the control scheme, at any time you can freely pan around the map or zoom in and out to help you plan out your next move. The soundtrack is soothing and relaxing which is much needed as I’ve already alluded to due to frustrations, but is instantly forgettable.
If you enjoy a challenge and have the patience to take your time and plan out your moves, Cubikolor is well worth a try, the game is incredibly rewarding when your well thought out moves fall together and you are awarded with a well-earned a gold medal at the end, however if you find puzzle games requiring patience and pre-planning frustrating than this is not for you. Unlike the historic Rubik’s Cube you are unable to cheat your way through Cubikolor and the only thing that ends up being dismantled is your controller after impacting a wall from being thrown in frustration just as I did as a child with my very own Rubik’s Cube.
Cubikolor was reviewed with a download code of the Xbox One edition, provided by Microsoft Xbox