Surprise, surprise. Just when we thought we had Wiiís latest franchise Art Style figured out, Nintendo throws a curve ball at us. What many expected to be the US counterpart to the infamous Japan-only Bit Generations series really turned out to be a series boasting elegant design, polished graphics, and pick-up-and-play controls. Behold, the second game in the series, Art Style: Cubello.
With the tsunami of puzzle games hitting WiiWare, many may be disappointed to hear that Cubello is yet another one. That doesnít mean that it is another generic puzzle game not worthy of your attention. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Cubello is one of the most impressive and unique puzzle games to hit any system in the past decade.
Raising the Bar
Cubello is an amazingly simple three-dimensional puzzle game that mixes the strategy and feel of a traditional puzzle game with the precision and reflexes required in a shooter. Taking the aspects of these two genres, Nintendo has used the Wiiís unique capabilities as an emulsifier to make them go hand-in-hand.
That is only the surface of Cubello, though. What the game truly excels at is raising the bar for the genre. Like Art Style: Orbient, Cubello is best played in short sessions instead of countless hours. Playing it that way you will notice that the gameís concept doesnít get old, a problem that many of its peers are experiencing. The concept is so well executed that it is pretty hard to get bored of playing it.
Each puzzle -or stage- in Cubello consists of a large array of multi-colored cubes that form into a large object referred to as a Cubello. This object rotates and floats around the screen as you play, making it difficult to solve the puzzle. The objective of each level is to launch colored cubes from your magazine, a bar on the side that contains cubes, at the Cubello in order to destroy cubes so that a single, unique cube remains. To add strategy to the game, your magazine can only hold ten cubes.
Once four or more cubes of the same color come in contact with each other, they disappear from the playing field. It doesnít matter how the cubes are connected; the main thing to remember is that they must touch each other. Yes, that means that diagonals arenít acceptable, but on the bright side, every other combination works! Four in a row, column, square, rectangle, polygon, etc Ė it all works.
Centre of the Cubello
By making cubes disappear from the Cubello, any detached cubes will come crashing to the core, sometimes resulting in additional cubes disappearing. Throughout various points in each stage, additional cubes may be randomly added to the Cubello, often ruining your strategy. Yes, thatís right, there is some strategy in Cubello. Just randomly firing cubes wonít get you through the level. Each cube you fire increases the number of turns and you lose a cube from your magazine. When your magazine hits 0, it is game over.
Worthy of your points?
Things just keep getting better, donít they? Thankfully, the sound and visuals keep with the pattern as well. Crisp and clean visuals accompany a robust array of sound effects and soothing background music. Topping everything off is the excellent voice that speaks every time you fire at a cube. Though I liked the addition of this voice, I can easily understand why some people may not like it.
Clocking in at only 47 blocks and 600 Wii Points, Cubello is easily one of the most impressive WiiWare games. When I think of WiiWare, I think of games that have a lot to offer but wouldnít be worth a retail purchase. Cubello fits right under that thought and thankfully, the game is enjoyable. Like Orbient, this is a must-have game, period.
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