Name: Rubik’s World
Platform: DS, Wii (Reviewed on DS)
One of the more prevalent genres of video games found on the DS is the puzzle game. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the handheld system is suited for the category, with touch screen and portable capabilities; puzzle games are a great choice for gamers on the go. However, not all puzzle games are created equally, and while some are fantastically addictive, others are more lackluster. Unfortunately, Rubik’s World leans towards the second type.
Rubik’s World is a puzzler that is actually comprised of different mini-games, all of which use the sides and colors of the famous brain-twisting Rubik’s cube in various ways. At first, the game seems promising, with eight different gameplay modes to choose from. A few of these are entertaining, but others are either silly or boring. Some require you to move the cube around levels of increasing difficulty, avoiding traps to get it to a goal. Movements are restricted in an assortment of ways, so the player must really think about the best way to solve the puzzle. Yet another mode involves shifting blocks into a certain shape in a short amount of time.
The mini-game I liked the most, "Switch", looks like a poor man’s Tetris at first glance, but is actually the most fun of the bunch. As more blocks clutter the screen, the player must switch out blocks of different colors to make them disappear. It’s not entirely original, but it’s done in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a complete rip-off of, well, every other puzzle game ever made. Unfortunately, the few interesting levels are outnumbered by games that are completely dull. Some seem to have no purpose at all, like making shapes with different colored cubes, or stringing some notes together to make a song. These don’t even feel like games; they’re more like filler to add more modes of play to the title.
If none of this appeals to you, there’s always the task of solving an actual Rubik’s Cube. It couldn’t be a game about that famously challenging block of squares without that element. There’s even a tutorial to teach the player how to solve the original Cube. For fans of tradition, you are able to solve Cubes of three different sizes, using the stylus to rotate and put blocks into place. When that loses its novelty, there is an additional Rubik’s Cube mini-game in which you have to twist and turn an already-solved Cube to match a color scheme shown. It’s an interesting twist, but not enough to keep anyone coming back repeatedly.
The biggest problem with Rubik’s World is that it lacks the addictive nature necessary to make a puzzle game enjoyable. Consider another DS puzzler: Puzzle Quest. The formula for that game was basically Bejeweled with skulls, and yet it was implemented in a way that made the whole thing fun, the kind of game that was hard to put down. That kind of quality is what makes puzzle games worth playing. I felt no desire to replay most of the challenges in Rubik’s World once they were completed; in fact, a few of them bored me enough that I almost quit in the middle.
Rubik’s World is a title that had potential, but unfortunately it was lost among the dull and pointless exercises included in this game. While there is some entertainment value, it’s just not enough to keep puzzle fans coming back for more. With so many other games in the genre already available on the DS, this one just doesn’t stand out. If you have some kind of bizarre obsession with Rubik’s Cubes, you might actually get a lot of enjoyment out of Rubik’s World. Otherwise, it’s not exactly a memorable game.