Developer: TinMoon Studios
Publisher: TinMoon Studios
Release Date: Out Now
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed) HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
I don’t always find myself addicted to puzzlers, but there’s something about playing them in virtual reality that really adds to their appeal. Actually feeling like you’re in these little worlds whilst solving a variety of tricky enigmas is just satisfying, plus their use of motion controls is top notch – you’ve only got to look at the likes of Tumble VR to see how to do a puzzler right in virtual reality.
After releasing already on other platforms, TinMoon Studios’ shape-based puzzler CubeWorks has released on PlayStation VR, bringing cube-based matching-puzzles to Sony’s headset. It’s a simple little game, but one that’s simplicity is complimented by its varying game modes and addictive nature.
CubeWorks sees you using two Move controllers to grab at cubes in the environment around you, spin them around, and match up their faces with one another. Get a pair matched and the box will explode in front of you, adding to your score. Simple, right? You’ve got to do this as quickly as possible, with the player facing different scenarios and goals across the game’s multiple stages.
Some of these stages might challenge you to complete a certain quota of matches in a specific time, whilst others might launch a multitude of cubes your way and challenge you to quickly find the shape that matches them – CubeWorks isn’t afraid to amp up the pressure on the player, and you’ll need to both think and react quick if you want to succeed. It certainly keeps things varied and it really compliments the simple nature of the game’s shape-matching gameplay.
It’s certainly tricky though. If you accidentally lose some of your cubes, you’ll have a strike against you – three strikes and you automatically fail. In fairness, the cubes are fairly easy to keep control of, but there were plenty of occasions where I’d rush to react only to knock a few cubes out of my reach. The actual objectives themselves are quite tricky too, especially when it expects you to somehow match up thirty different cubes in three minutes when they’re being launched all around you. The more you play the game though, the better you become.
You’d think the added pressure might be off-putting, but it actually has the opposite effect – it encourages you to get better at the game, and with every success you have you’ll find yourself eager to move onto the next challenge that CubeWorks throws you way. It’s definitely got that never-ending ‘one more go’ vibe to it, and I found myself spending a good few hours with the game before I started growing tired out it.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the same if you weren’t playing in virtual reality. CubeWorks’ gameplay feels all the more satisfying thanks to the motion controls and the fact that you’ll have this almost endless supply of cubes smashing around you all the time, so I can’t imagine I’d have found it as engaging if I had to play it on a normal screen with a controller. Add to that the surprisingly attractive visuals and the myriad of immersive mechanical surroundings, and you’ll quickly find that CubeWorks is a game that takes genuinely takes advantage of the hardware.
There’s no denying that it can suffer from repetition though, with the game following the same formula throughout regardless of the variety stages offer. You’re always matching up shapes and it never gets more exciting than fiddling around with cubes in your hands. It offered enough for me to enjoy, but puzzling veterans might expect a bit more. Still, for the low price-point of the game you’re certainly getting enough puzzling-bang for your buck.