Game Reviews

The Cube

Star onStar halfStar offStar offStar off
| The Cube
The Cube
| The Cube

If you think about it, hit TV program The Cube makes for a potentially great video game tie-in.

There are sci-fi visual stylings aplenty, a domineering presenter introducing the challenges, and it's neatly compartmentalised into discrete physical activities.

Unfortunately, the transition from the small screen to the even smaller screen has been so poorly handled by the developer that the result is a confusing and irritating collection of underdeveloped mini-games.

It has the look, but playing The Cube on 3DS lacks all the tension and genuine skill that makes the show itself so watchable.

Looking good

I was always taught that if you're going to say something negative - and I am - then you should soften the blow with something positive. Let's begin with the presentation.

It's pretty much spot on: a virtual set replete with audience members is the first thing you'll see, along with the titular Cube. The 3D is subtle but effective, with the prize money on offer popping from the screen and The Cube itself looming over you as you enter it in first-person.

The rather imposing narrator announces the next game you'll play with a menacing tone: Void is a good one, as is Momentum.

Before you decide whether to attempt the next round and risk losing all of your built up prize total you're treated to footage ripped straight from the show explaining the rules to you. A woman in what looks like a futuristic fencing outfit demonstrates how to succeed at the upcoming challenge.

The menus outside of the main game are bare yet functional, and the visuals of the games you take part in are decent, if lacking in raw visceral thrills. To be fair, it's based on a cheaply produced TV show, so they were never going to have much of a wow factor in the first place.

Playing bad

However, once you start actually playing the mini-games you'll find the title both exhaustingly dull and utterly exasperating.

Approximately two thirds of the games play out almost identically. You need to move an object (such as a ball, a disc, or a box) from one area of The Cube to another, usually fulfilling a set of specific criteria.

One asks you to bounce a ball on two pillars and then have it land in a basket. One has you throw a box over a wall to land in another box. One demands that you roll a disc between two posts.

For all of them you only need to swipe up or down on the touchscreen. You're never told how hard you should do this, though - leading to a lot of lives lost and several Game Over screens.

It's like buying a WarioWare title and finding out that most of the 300 mini-games on offer just require you to press the left button a few times. Only there aren't 300 mini-games - there's about a tenth of that number.

The rest of the games test your ability to stop a timer at exactly ten seconds, to count squares that appear on The Cube's floor quickly, and your general aptitude for doing other reasonably interesting things of that nature.

They're few and far between since there are so many swipe-down-to-win games, but when you do play them you can clearly see the makings of a potentially decent title.

It's no coincidence that The Cube has been released this close to the forthcoming holidays: this is stocking-filler tat that your less discerning parents will coo at and play for ten minutes over a turkey dinner. But you're the sort of person who reads reviews on a video games website, so you'll probably want to avoid this cash-in trash.

The Cube

Extremely short if you can get the hang of the infuriating mini-games, The Cube is a cynically produced tie-in of a ropey-looking British TV show