Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: Cube Trick for iPhone and iPad

Cube Trick by the Russian (I think!) Rutony Studio has some challenging puzzles and nice, clean graphics, but it's difficult to forgive some major shortcomings in the user interface and design.
The mechanics are similar to other games I reviewed in the past, Escapology and Move, but unfortunately here the play area is 3D. You'll soon see why that's unfortunate.

You control some cubes. Every time you move in one direction, all the cubes move by one step in that direction, unless they are blocked by a wall. The goal is to bring all the white cubes over the green tiles (at the same time).
There are also black cubes, which move like the others, but don't have to be placed over the green tiles.
The striking thing you should have noticed in these screenshots is the virtual joypad. This is quite unusual: normally, games like this simply use swiping gestures. There is an option to turn off the virtual joypad, but it seemed to often confuse the movement commands with camera rotation, so I preferred to use the joypad.

One of the initial puzzles teaches you that the cubes can fall off edges, in which case you have to restart, however I found this a bit confusing because this doesn't happen again for some time: cubes that reach the edge of the board just stop.
The puzzles get challenging very soon, and I enjoyed solving the first few, for example this one was fun:
Sadly, I then reached this puzzle, where the earlier tutorial about falling finally made sense:
This puzzle is laid on multiple levels, and you are supposed to fall to lower levels to reach the goal. The problem is that because of the perspective used, it is close to impossible to understand how things are actually arranged in 3D space. When you rotate the camera, you get brief glimpses of the layout, then are stuck again in a isometric projection that hides everything. This is the exact same problem that MindTilt had. Am I missing something here?

I think additional mechanics like teleports are introduced in later puzzles, but I'm afraid I won't be able to see them. Get this only if you enjoy navigating mazes blindfolded.


Logical Reasoning★★★☆☆
User Interface★☆☆☆☆
Loading Time★★★★★
Saves Partial Progress
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