Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cubot - The Complexity of Simplicity Review (XONE)

Cubot, full title Cubot - The Complexity of Simplicity, is a 3D puzzle game where you move blocks around on a grid to set positions in order to solve the puzzle.  At first it is simple, but the game starts adding different colored blocks that move in different ways and it gets very challenging pretty fast.  It is priced at an incredibly reasonable $2, though, which makes any complaints about difficulty or replay value instantly melt away.  Puzzle fans should definitely give Cubot a try.  See the details in our review.

Game Details

  • Publisher: NicoplvGames
  • Developer: NicoplvGames
  • ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Pros: Looks great; simple concept, but very tricky; price
  • Cons: Gets very difficult; little replay value
  • MSRP: $2

As I mentioned above, Cubot is a deceptively simple 3D puzzle game.  The idea is that you move colored blocks around on a grid so they wind up on their same colored “home” block by the end.  You start off with blue blocks that only move one space, then red blocks that move two spaces are added, then yellow blocks that move one space in the opposite direction you move the other blocks, and more.  Buttons you have to hold down with a certain color block to activate platforms are also introduced, which makes things even more complicated.

The tricky part is that all of the blocks all move at the same time so you have to really think about every move ahead of time and consider where everything is going to end up.  There are 10 chapters with 8 levels each, and each chapter adds some new block type or mechanic for you to deal with.  Just to give you an idea of the difficulty curve, I started having trouble by chapter 4 and it only gets more crazy difficult from there on.  The game does throw you a bone here and there by allowing you to skip one level for every 8 you finish and also letting you instantly take back moves with the “A” button, but it is still very, very hard.

The truth about Cubot is that most people aren’t going to be able to finish it.  Heck, most people won’t even see half of the game before it gets too hard.  Each puzzle only has one solution and, particularly when you have multiple block types all moving around at once, one incorrect move early on can render the puzzle impossible to solve.  This brutal difficulty does reward you with a nice feeling of satisfaction when you figure stuff out, but also lots and lots of frustration in between, too.  The fact that each puzzle only has one solution also means the replay value is fairly low, since once you know how it works you just repeat the steps to do it again. 


Normally, such brutal difficulty and lack of replay value would be deal breakers, but when a game is only $2 it is easy enough to just shrug things like that off.  Even if you only see 1/3rd of the game, you’re still easily getting your $2’s worth, so it is hard to complain too much.

Presentation wise, Cubot doesn’t do much to hide its mobile game roots.  The menus were clearly designed for touch devices and it can actually be sort of difficult to select what you want because there is no cursor or anything, just the button you’re currently on looks slightly (barely) different than before.  The gameplay, at least, does look pretty good.  The game is very simple with just a white background, the grid you play on, and the colored blocks, but it looks nice. 

All in all, Cubot - The Complexity of Simplicity is a terrifically challenging 3D puzzle game that will really put your mind to the test.  It is very, very difficult, but at just $2 you definitely get your money’s worth even if you do get stuck early on.  And if you can finish it, and earn all 1000 gamerscore along the way, you’ll have some serious bragging rights.  Cubot is pretty cool and definitely worth a try.

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