Nintendo has published many a puzzle game over the last year plus thanks to their partnership with skip Ltd. on the Art Style series, and now they have another one for puzzle lovers in the form of You, Me and the Cubes. This physics based puzzler was developed by Kenji Eno and his most recent development company, fyto (from yellow to orange), and is enjoyable, accessible, but still difficult to master, just as a puzzle game should be.
In You, Me and the Cubes, you throw Fallos–men and women that you create in pairs by shaking the Wii Remote up and down once–onto cubes that are on the screen. It’s an easy process, too: simply point the IR at the two areas you want a Fallos to land on, press A to confirm, then flick the Wii Remote. You won’t fling them harder or softer based on your motion, so you don’t need to overdo it either, which is nice. Flinging Fallos onto a cube sounds easy though, and it is; the challenge comes from throwing them into places that will not upset the natural balance of the cube or cubes. If you succeed at this, the Fallos will stand there triumphantly for a time and the cubes will not move, but if you throw them into a place that upsets this balance, the cubes will shift accordingly, and your Fallos may fall.
Sep. 21, 2009
There’s a little more personality and even humanity in these Fallos that make you want to do this right. First of all, they scream as they plunge to their death below if they fall off of a cube. Second, if there are two Fallos on a cube, and one begins to falter or is slipping off of the edge, the other Fallos will do their best to save them, lifting them back on to the cube. These Fallos have their own AI that you will see on display, but that AI makes them look like compassionate creatures that are trying to survive your flinging. It gives this puzzle game a bit more character and personality, and maybe even a little bit of a gamer conscience.
There are six stages, each with six levels, and each of those levels has six cubes that you must complete, one at a time. The first section will have one cube, the second two, and so on. You will need to place a certain number of Fallos on the structure for each section, and also at least one Fallos per cube, which gets tougher as you add cubes given the shapes created by the merging. There are also different types of cubes, such as the Freezing Cube, which freezes the entire structure when hit and keeps the balance of the cubes where it is, which is a big help to the next batch of Fallos if you can move quickly enough.
The game is also very difficult. While you may breeze through the first set of stages no problem, mastering them is another story, as the game keeps track of how many Fallos survived each round–if the Fallos is off-balance when you complete a round, they fall off as the next cube is added, deducting from your overall score despite your advancement. You will also start to have trouble when you create Pale Fallos in your Wii Remote; you’re basically throwing a playful imp onto the screen, one that likes to bully your other Fallos and push them off of ledges, though no worries, you can do away with Pale Fallos once they land as well by tossing another Fallos onto their head, which also adds 10 seconds to your timer.
That’s You, Me and the Cubes gameplay in a nutshell, but there is also a two-player mode that is markedly different. You have the same basic gameplay structure, except now instead of you tossing out two Fallos, you throw one while player two flings the other. You can synchronize your throws so that you both land your Fallos at the same time, which is a skill you will need to work on when playing multiplayer. If you pull off this synchronized toss, the two Fallos will not slip or fall for a short period of time, which will allow you to throw more Fallos before the cube’s balance becomes a problem.
That’s helpful, but it isn’t why you need the skill. You need it to repel the enemies found in the multiplayer mode. Shade Fallos appear when one of your Fallos falls off of the cubes, and they are very heavy, enough that they disrupt the balance of your cubes and start sending other Fallos falling to their doom. You can lock him in place with the A button just like the Pale Fallos–except this time as a team–then synchronize your flinging in order to take the Shade down. These additions make multiplayer the preferred mode, and gives this game loads of replayability.
Blast Factor: You, Me and the Cubes is a fascinating puzzler, given its physics-based gameplay and its very human puzzle “pieces”, the Fallos. The single-player alone would have made this a fun title, but the addition of multiplayer that forces you to work in concert in order to advance makes this one of the better WiiWare releases from 2009. If you’re into puzzle titles and quirkiness, then You, Me and the Cubes is a great place to invest your $10.
You, Me and the Cubes is exclusive to Nintendo Wii’s WiiWare services, and is available for 1000 Nintendo Points.
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