NicoplvGames is a developer with whom most people will be unfamiliar. They have released three titles on Windows Phone, including Cubot - The Complexity of Simplicity
, but none are LIVE enabled and the achievement hunters that frequent this site are unlikely to have taken much notice. Cubot
marks the developer's first foray into the world of consoles as they bring their latest puzzle title to Xbox One gamers. Is this a worthwhile endeavour or was this title better off staying on mobile platforms?
The game's subtitle is "The Complexity of Simplicity" and simplicity is one of the things that the game manages to achieve well, starting with the game's minimalistic design. Players are immediately treated to a three dimensional black and white grid on a clinical white background. On that grid lies coloured cubes, each of which must be moved into their respective coloured squares. All that players need to use is
to move the cubes and
to rotate the camera to gain a better perspective. This all sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, it isn't too simple if you bear in mind that all of the cubes move at the same time.
Players start off with a simple blue cube that moves one square at a time in the intended direction. Over the eight levels of this first episode, players will be treated to ever more challenging grids as they get used to moving the cubes simultaneously. The game's 80 levels are split into ten episodes, each of which introduces the player to a new game mechanic. The game's difficulty increases gradually and at a reasonable pace as players encounter cubes that move across multiple squares with a single flick of the stick or move in the opposite direction. There are also teleporters, cubes that can change colour, and buttons that activate elevators. By the time that you combine all of these things together with each level containing multiple mechanics, the levels have become quite challenging even for the puzzle aficionados out there.
This is one of the easier levels.
Even the most experienced puzzlers will get two to four hours out of the game, which is priced at an extremely reasonable US$1.99/ £1.59 / €1.99. The only issue is that there is very little replay value once you have completed each level. There is a Best Score figure that tells players the minimum amount of moves in which the level can be completed and the number of moves taken to complete a level offers a star rating, but these have no effect on unlocking further content and do nothing to prevent gamers from moving forward. This leaves little incentive for players to better their performance once they have completed a level for the first time. Even if players do feel like replaying a level, the solutions for many can be easily memorised making further attempts at the level seem a bit pointless.
On the other hand, though, the lack of barriers to prevent progression means that the game is accessible to a much wider audience. Players can take an unlimited number of moves to complete a level, so they do not have to be an expert at the genre to unlock the later episodes. Also, players can always reset a level from the menu if they feel like they are reaching a dead end, or they can always reverse one move at a time at the press of a button. It was this button that provided the only other minor fault. For gamers that have been programmed to use
as the back button, it seems like a strange decision for the game to choose to use the
Four cubes, three colours, two levels and a teleporter. What could possibly go wrong?
Aside from the lack of replayability, the game has very few issues. Even the game's menus have the same simplistic and clinical design and the soothing music blends into the background and is far from distracting. Finally, the game's 10 achievements are awarded one per episode for completing every level regardless of star rating or score, meaning that this is certainly not the most challenging completion that Xbox One gamers have ever faced.
SummaryCubot - The Complexity of Simplicity
does indeed offer complex puzzles set in an extremely simplistic environment. Featuring an easy-to-use control system, minimalistic design and clever game mechanics, players get a competent puzzler that has made the jump from mobile to console with few issues. Some may find the lack of replayability a factor to discourage a purchase, but the extremely attractive price point means that most players will be satisfied once they have gotten their initial 2-4 hours worth of gameplay out of the title. Add to this a relatively easy achievement list and players would be a fool to pass this one over.
- Easy to use control system
- Simplistic but effective design
- Very cheap price point
The reviewer spent 4 hours completing every single one of the game's 80 levels and earning all of the game's 10 achievements. She was especially pleased with the one level where she managed to beat the Best Score, but she is unlikely to ever be able to repeat that feat again. This Xbox One copy of the game was provided courtesy of the publisher for the purpose of this review.