Initially, CUBELLO doesn’t make a lick of sense. We stared, slack-jawed, at the screen for longer than we’d care to admit – 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 – it’s a virtual Rubik’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’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’s later that the brain-hurting begins, when larger, more complex structures begin to emerge. It’s an adept and dizzying puzzler once you get to know it, not least because of the cube’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’s an enjoyable way to let off some steam when you’re mid-stage, although we still can’t fathom exactly when, why or how it’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 – like so many puzzlers – this actually represents the next logical, brain-bending step. If you’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