More a collection of puzzle mini-games than a typical puzzle game, Rubik’s World for Nintendo DS allows players to enter the universe of the Cubie’s, the blocks used to build the iconic Rubik’s Cube. Rubik’s World consists of 8 very different modes, of which most are puzzle-types, while others are a bit more relaxed and allow you to express your creativity through simple tunes or drawings.
You control the action using the stylus, and aside from a few rare spots where you press the wrong area or where the game doesn’t seem to respond readily to your inputs, Rubik’s World controls as well as we’ve come to expect from puzzle games on DS. The game’s puzzles are all rendered in 3D, thematically consisting of cube variations. At first, most of the game is just plain white, but as you progress and “free” more and more Cubies, the game eventually becomes much more vibrant. The audio consists of a few catchy tunes, remixed to various forms, but you can create your own basic tunes in the game’s music editor.
So let’s take a look at some of the game modes included in Rubik’s World:
Classic Rubik’s Cube: You would think that, this being the game that inspired Rubik’s World, solving the Rubik’s Cube would be one of the better parts of this title. Yet Rubik’s Cube is awful. You can’t ever seem to get the right camera angle, turning the cube around to look at different parts is a pain, and the simple act of swiping the stylus to move pieces around is imprecise and frustrating. There is also a built-in tutorial that’s supposed to teach you how to solve the Rubik’s Cube in seven steps, but it’s terrible and I never got past step one.
Fit: In this game, you fit a group of Cubies through a series of walls. The walls are shown in the upper screen and your goal is to recreate their shape in the bottom screen before time runs out.
Calculate: This game reminded me of Brain Training, where accuracy and speed are rewarded. You have to map the solutions to math problems by plotting them on a grid. This game is simple in concept, but quite entertaining in practice.
Switch: This game has you switching different color Cubies to create lines of 5 or more that allow you to clear the board. Switch is very simple in concept, and is easy to pick up and play.
Roll: Move your Cubie towards the exit, one direction at a time while avoiding obstacles around a labyrinth-like board. This is yet another puzzle that challenges your spatial and logical reasoning abilities.
Compose: Handicapped by a lack of direction or a decent tutorial, this tool can nonetheless be entertaining. You can start with a preset tune, then add in your own sounds by tapping Cubies to create a remix. You can’t do anything too fancy or lengthy, but it’s cool to hear your tunes as the background to the game.
Create: Another free-form game type, create has you using different color Cubies to recreate real world objects. While the game does ask you to draw a specific object, you are free to really create it in any way you see fit. Your creations are eventually used throughout the backgrounds, which is a very nice bonus.
Color: This is one of those puzzles that require you to look ahead, sometimes very many steps ahead, to plot out the path of the Cubies to safety. Using a pre-set selection of arrows and other aides, you place them on the board in a way that will allow the Cubies to reach the exit point. Once you have laid out your aides, you set the Cubies off and hope that you calculated all their movements correctly ahead of time.
For the most part, these puzzles are all pretty straightforward, but if you are confused by any of them, the game’s instructions aren’t very clear and do a poor job of demonstrating what you are supposed to do or what the rules of each minigame are. Still, Rubik’s World has enough puzzles and requires enough creativity that both casual and more serious puzzle fans should find something to like.