When we first received our Wii for Christmas a few years ago, one of the first things we did was try out one of the free games that came with it. I don’t recall the name of it, but it was essentially a sphere rolled around a cube universe, collecting both points (coins) and keys in order to unlock the exit.
I remember the first month or so after Christmas, as my kids lost interest in it for the action and excitement of other games, I found myself mesmerized by the cube and sphere world. The backdrops were really cool, and the obstacle course became pretty challenging at the higher levels.
I remember wishing that I had a game like this to play as an alternative to solitaire, at those moments when my mind is overwhelmed from writing or researching and I need a quick break. So, I was pretty excited to discover Cubosphere over on Sourceforge.
Cubosphere is a simple concept, but as you work your way through the levels and the wacky cube-world becomes more and more confusing, you’ll find your mind tested by the puzzle-like game that’ll keep you occupied for hours.
Exporing the Cube World of Cubosphere
Cubosphere is just wild. It seemed simple at first – especially as you work your way through the tutorial, which prepares you for nearly everything that you might expect to encounter in the game.
The tutorial is actually surprisingly thorough, taking you through several stages and gradually introducing you to the sort of obstacles that are typical. I highly suggest going through the tutorial if you’ve never played this game – or other puzzle games like it – before. It’s a great way to learn the point of the game and to warm up your thinking skills.
Maneuvering in a world where there is really no up or down – and warped gravity to boot – can be a bit mind-bending. So the tutorial gives you time to adapt to this strange new world.
You are basically a colorful beach ball, rolling around on the surface of the blocks that are placed in different configurations. There are different themes available. In this example it’s Egypt – that’s why you see the hyroglyphics everywhere.
The number of keys you need to locate before you can exit the level is shown in the lower left corner. In the tutorial, you’ll come across “comment” boxes. All you have to do is press enter to see a tip that will explain what you’re facing and how to do things like find keys or jump over holes between the blocks.
Once your done the Tutorial, from the Main Menu you can choose either “Explore Mode” or “Classic Mode” to start playing the game as it was intended.
Choose the level for this first area (Egypt). As you complete each level, the game will remember your progress. The next time you return and visit this screen, you’ll see the additional levels listed and the completed status. You can go back and play those levels again at any point if you want.
Playing the game is a total blast. Being a beach ball in first-person view is a little bit unnerving after you’ve played first person shooters like Metal of Honor or Call of Duty. Of course, this is an entirely different genre – this game is for brains not brawn.
You’ll learn to navigate around corners, jump over holes and seek out coins, keys and other treasures.
Complete each level to beat the highest score stored on that computer. Before and after each level, you’ll see a quick 360-degree view of the level that appears hanging over a remarkable backdrop.
The game starts to get more complicated as you advance on to more “dimensions”. No longer a single flat-plane, in higher levels you start rolling over the edge and rolling right on the sides, tops or bottoms of the blocks.
Keeping track of your perspective can cause a bit of dizziness – the kind you feel when you’re standing at the top of a tall mountain or building, looking down at the world below. Now imagine that feeling if you were standing horizontal to the horizon, and staring down at the ground below.
Now imagine trying to remember which way gravity will pull you if you jump off of this block with some sort of magic “gravity” that holds you until you make that leap. It isn’t easy, but after a few jumps and retries, you’ll get the hang of it.
Creating and Editing Levels
In my opinion, the coolest part of the game is actually the level editor itself. There are really unlimited levels with Cubosphere, because you can design the most complex cube levels that your mind can imagine.
From the main menu, just click on “Level Editor”, and you can choose from a long list of theme templates. Then, within each theme, you can design the settings for that level such as how much time the player has to get to the end, what the ball looks like, and background music.
Once you get the hang of it, designing levels is actually fast and easy. Study the F1 help menu to learn how the controls work. The simplest level comes from just moving the arrow keys around to place the cube, and then tapping the space bar to place them. Once you get the hang of that, use the control keys listed to change the face of the blocks, type of blocks, and add items.
Be careful though, because choosing the wrong type of blocks in the wrong place can render the level completely impossible to complete (I learned that the hard way…)
To be honest, I found building levels to be more fun than playing the game itself, but that may just be me.
Try the game out yourself and let us know what you think. Is this version as good or better than others that are like it out there? What do you think of the level editor? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Image Credit: Colored Abstract Cubes via Shutterstock