The Cube (Nintendo 3DS) - Review by Andrew
I you were to tot up the number of titles representing the various genres on the DS/3DS, there's a good chance that TV Game Shows figure quite highly. The reason is that these programmes have a huge following with an audience eager to indulge in their favorite TV show in the comfort of their own homes. There's been many examples of this in the past such as Wheel of Fortune, Countdown, Wipeout, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Deal or No Deal, Family Fortunes to name a few. While these are reasonably cheap to produce the difficulty in remaining true to the license whilst also making an entreating game can be a bit of a challenge. The Cube broadcasts during the prime Saturday night slot in the UK but does this game manage to capture the tension and excitement of the show?
If you haven't seen The Cube, the premise is simple. A single contestant enters a large glass box with the aim of completing seven challenges in order to win cash prizes. These are very simple affairs, on the surface, but require essential skills such as memory, observation, timing and judgment although it's the 'virtual' judgment', which will cause players the most problems. Some games are incredibly easy such as Pulse where you must stop the pulsating floor, at the correct moment, in order to completely flood it in red, which we managed to achieve on every attempt. Others such as Reaction and Reflex work in much the same way. Your observational skills will be put to the test in Pursuit where you must locate a single blue square once it has been 'mixed up' amongst a whole collection of red ones.
That's the simple ones out of the way but any one of the games, which requires you to throw, slid, or roll an object is almost certainly going to end in failure and therefore disappointment. Why, you ask, well, because here you'll be required to use the stylus, which is possibly one of the most flawed game controls we've ever seen in a touch-screen game. Of course you can always opt not to enter a challenge at all and cash in your winnings but where's the fun in that?
There is also a Multiplayer, of sorts, where you must pass your 3DS 'around the room' with games allowing you to go 'Head to Head' or 'Best out of Seven' but where are the on-line leader boards? Oh, we almost forgot the ability to 'simplify'. You only get one of these allowing you to make your current game more manageable but remember, use it wisely.
The controls system here is very varied indeed and, as we've mentioned, any game which uses the more tradition inputs is generally a lot easier to master than the touch-screen affairs. This isn't because they are any less challenging but stopping a timer, retracing a path or inputting data is a great deal easier when you have complete control over what you are doing. If you're not entirely sure what we mean here why not head down to the 'Dual Screen Use' section to discover just why The Cube can seen a little unfair and very frustrating to play at times.
The developers have certainly managed to capture the minimalist setting of The Cube itself with a red and white colour pallet which features prominently in the TV show. This runs throughout the various games and allows for a clear and unobstructed view of the various challenges. Of course, all of this could easily become a little bland after a while so in order to brighten things up a little the developers have also included a series of FMV tutorials, which are bolted on the front of each of the challenges.
Not only do you get all of the original TV series music but also the actual voice over making the whole experience very authentic and a little creepy too.
The stylus is required for any game, which asks you to move on on-screen object. Say, roll a ball or toss a cube into a container and while these games are no doubt a great deal easier on the TV show itself, they are incredibly difficult (sometimes impossible) in a 'virtual world'. The problem is the complete lack of weight and gravity so rolling a steel ball into a specific area or throwing one object into another is a real challenge when your only real input is a simple 'swipe'. Is it too fast, too slow? What it is is too difficult to judge and encountering any of these games could have you using up all your lives almost instantly.
While the 3D effect initially works very well here, whilst contestants are entering the Cube itself, it quickly becomes very distracting when you are actually playing the game and you'll want to turn it right off during some of the more difficult 'arcade' challenges.
The Cub really is a game of two haves and while the challenges which require a simple 'A', 'B' or joypad input are reasonably entertaining, you'll dread anything which asks for the stylus in any shape or form. It would be nice to simply turn these games off in order to give yourself a fair chance at actually winning but challenges are chosen randomly so you may not get any at all although that's highly unlikely. If you do happen to get the hang of this you'll soon discover just how short the game is and with only 33 challenges (most of which are very similar) it's all over very quickly indeed. It still likely to appeal to fans of the show as long as you don't expect to win.
Pro: Great Presentation With Audio and Visuals to Match the TV Show.
Con: Very Short, Similar Challenges, Terrible Touch-Screen Mechanic.
Final score: 4.1
|Developer:||Route 1 Games|