Dilmer Valecillos’ Cubiques is a serene little puzzle game that started its life as a mobile game. It follows a tradition of simple time wasters and brain teasers. Perfect for a mobile format, Cubiques has recently released onto Steam into a market flooded with such titles.
Cubiques’ art style is extremely minimalistic, but it has a charming aesthetic and pleasing graphics. With few colors and no backgrounds, levels all tend to look similar- but the real draw is the puzzles. There are 70 unique levels with puzzles kind of becoming more difficult as the game progresses. There are a few spikes in difficulty, but there are some puzzles that are so easy as to be literally unable to fail. Puzzle 27 requires you to simple press “down” until you win.
Porting from mobile to PC has made Cubiques suffer. The UI has been (presumably) untouched from its mobile version, and unless you start in windowed mode the only way to quit out is to alt-F4. You can revisit levels you have passed, but scrolling through this list is a bit painful on PC as its still obviously designed for touch mechanics. The UI itself, surprisingly, has had little updates from its mobile origins, and suffers for it.
Luckily, the puzzles themselves are unaffected by the port as simply using the arrow keys on the keyboard controls your little red cube. Rolling over white blocks eliminates them, and you must eliminate them all to progress. This deviously simple premise, of course, gets expanded upon as you progress through the levels. These puzzles, though, are mostly uninspired. There is the unable-to-fail puzzle 27, but most other puzzles are so simple as to take seconds to pass. When new mechanics are introduced the game does a bad job of teaching them to you – instead relying on you to fail first. This wouldn’t be so bad if the level select didn’t track your attempts and best times on each of the levels.
Cubiques is neither good nor bad, but instead stuck in a sort of halfway point between being something brilliant and something that’s awful. In this case, Cubiques just isn’t worth your time. Being a port of a mobile game isn’t itself damning but its sheer lack of originality is. Possessing neither a heart nor a soul, Cubiques is shovelware destined to be forgotten, as well it should be. It’s too bad, as the developer obviously has potential.
Cubiques is available now on Steam, Android and iOS, and has a sequel available now on iOS and Android.