Initially, CUBELLO doesn%26rsquo;t make a lick of sense. We stared, slack-jawed, at the screen for longer than we%26rsquo;d care to admit %26ndash; like a caveman using a microwave, or George Bush Junior reading a book. After watching the tutorial three times over, though, it clicked. CUBELLO is Tetris in 3D. Actually, scrap that %26ndash; it%26rsquo;s a virtual Rubik%26rsquo;s Cube, but one where the pieces magically disappear when you connect them. Aiming with the remote, you fire colored blocks onto a slowly rotating cube-thing. Connect four and they vanish. Remove them all and you%26rsquo;ll proceed to the next stage.
It sounds simple enough. And it is to start with, once you get your head around the concept. It%26rsquo;s later that the brain-hurting begins, when larger, more complex structures begin to emerge. It%26rsquo;s an adept and dizzying puzzler once you get to know it, not least because of the cube%26rsquo;s insistence on swiveling in a new direction every time you place a block.
There to help you out is the occasional bonus mode, which lets you blast pieces with impunity for a limited time. It%26rsquo;s an enjoyable way to let off some steam when you%26rsquo;re mid-stage, although we still can%26rsquo;t fathom exactly when, why or how it%26rsquo;s activated. CUBELLO may look about as appealing as a defragmentation program, but a lot of care and attention has gone into the concept. Far from being a lazy Tetris clone %26ndash; like so many puzzlers %26ndash; this actually represents the next logical, brain-bending step. If you%26rsquo;re ready to take the leap into the third dimension, CUBELLO will be waiting. Just remember to bring a couple of aspirin with you.
Dec 18, 2008