July 14, 2012 1 Comment
It’s a bitch trying to think of ways to keep puzzle reviews interesting. Even if the game is decent, which Puzzle Cubicle is, it really is hard to get emotional over it. Emotions are the fuel of my writings. I use them as the compass for what direction I take with my reviews. But when a game offers absolutely no stimuli and has the personality of a piece of chalk laying on top of a loaf of tofu, writing about it can be almost painful. I’ve been staring at my monitor for an hour now trying to come up with someway to spice this review up. It just didn’t provide me with any material to start with. I guess I could go back and try it some more, but after a few hours with it I feel about as emotional as a corpse.
Puzzle Cubicle is sort of like one of those “make a shape out of other shapes” thingies. The hook here is that you’re given only a small point of reference to what exactly the final look of the design is supposed to be. Pieces are arranged on a grid, with a small “example” in the left corner that shows the location of a couple of the blocks. Using this as a reference point, you must create an enclosed cubicle (or more). I almost activated a case of narcolepsy in myself trying to describe it. Some games just sound boring on paper.
Oddly enough, I really liked Puzzle Cubicle. It’s not for everyone, and it’s probably out-of-place on XBLIG, but the mechanics are solid and I could finish all 50 puzzles without the game crashing on me. I do have a few complaints. First off, the explanation screen is terrible. The goals of the game needed to be articulated better. Second, I hate how it’s sometimes possible to create the desired pattern exactly how it’s supposed to look, but you don’t actually win because the alignment is off. Who gives a shit? Is that the pattern? Yes? Good, I beat it. Next! Third, the game’s timer keeps going if you pause the game. Why? I wasn’t using it to cheat. I was using it to piss or to answer the phone. You know, the type of thing people need to do from time to time. Not that the timer matters at all, but I was using it to measure my own intelligence and it really irked me. Although it did prove my theory that phone calls from my mother drop my IQ. Finally, why aren’t the pieces that are shown in the example just locked into place at the start of each round? That would have hastened the pace of the game and maybe made it more attractive to our cro-magnon population. No, really! I’m being serious here. Stop laughing!
If you haven’t fallen asleep by this point, Puzzle Cubicle might just be for you. It’s not exactly exciting, but it got my attention. Mechanically it’s functional and the puzzles are well made. Will it be the kind of game you talk about with your friends? No. Will you remember it after you’ve finished it? No. Is it worth your dollar? Probably. You can safely liken it to Ben Stein: impressively intelligent, but duller than a butter knife.
80 Microsoft Points turned your Cubicle into a Youbicle in the making of this review.
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