There’s a reason why celebrity couples are just as prone to failure as the rest of us. Personality aside, as gorgeous as Miss X or Mr Y happens to be, waking up to the same face day after day renders them familiar, mundane, less attractive. We tend to need variety or we stagnate.
Bravely, variety isn’t high on Cubixx’s list of features. Essentially a modern reworking of early 1980s arcade title Qix, Laughing Jackal’s effort requires you to cut out segments out of the sides of a cube while avoiding enemy units. Cut away the required percentage (which starts at 50 and ramps up every few levels) and you move on to the next stage.
And that’s it.Quadrilateral damage
Don’t expect to be reaching the 20th and final level in a hurry, though. Aside from avoiding the droid enemy present on each face of the cube and ensuring you don’t run into your own trail - both instances resulting in the loss of a life (you begin with three) - you’re soon facing additional menace from light ‘nodes’ that run along the cube’s vertices and along the cut edges of each face.
Encase them in any section you cut off and they disintegrate, only to regenerate elsewhere. And in doing so the first of Cubixx’s issues emerges.
The difficulty level ramps up too abruptly, so that even level 2 is exponentially harder, with the mostly dumb droids of the first stage already more intelligent and beginning to showcase a growing attraction to your trail whenever you cut across their territory.
The presence of the nodes from the second stage onwards isn’t unwelcome, but a more progressive difficulty curve would see them unable to regenerate until later levels, for instance, or restricted to vertex travel at first and only subsequently allowed to venture along the cut edges.
Disappointing, too, is the lack in graphical diversity. While the visuals work beautifully (and are ably supported by a very suitable and involving score), they remain identical regardless of the level being played. It’s a small point, perhaps, but a simple touch that would have had considerable impact.
Countering much of these niggles is the core of the play experience itself. Aside from the straightforward control mechanics - carve out your path through the use of the analogue nub, the D-pad or even the face buttons, with the R or L triggers instigating the cutting - it’s pleasing to see there is some substance to the scoring system.
With points based on the length of the trail, the amount of surface claimed and the number of cube faces visited every time you leave the relative safety of a vertex (you chain cube faces by keeping R or L depressed as you transfer across), risk taking is encouraged - crucial for a game of this nature.
That’s because points mean more than an ego-boosting high-score: earn enough and you’re rewarded with extra lives. And you’ll need those as you creep your way into the later, very tricky levels.
Aside from the unnecessarily steep learning curve, any frustration from failure can generally only be attributed to player error.
Be there and be square
Character will also dictate the nature of play - you’re either cautiously conservative or greedily impatient, unable to resist grabbing huge chunks of cube at a time - which in itself presents different sets of issues to be overcome. The point is, you get angry with yourself, not the game. And, more importantly, you keep coming back.
Sure, you won’t find a different experience every time you do - there are no multiple game modes - but there is a purity in Cubixx’s single-mindedness that, aside from adhering perfectly to the Minis philosophy, is undeniably attractive.
Besides, the original Tetris only offered one game mode to speak of, and that hasn’t stopped it being one of the finest games ever made.
Cubixx isn’t likely to convincingly slot itself alongside such illustrious company but what it does - delivering a quick, simple, and addictive arcade experience you’ll find yourself returning to frequently - it does very well.
Will you still be as attracted to it six months down the line?
Well, familiarity is likely to erode your interest, but you can imagine the odd fling won’t be out of the question. Initially, though, the relationship is intense.