While we don't currently have many details on the upcoming WiiWare version, I was able to spend a couple of hours with the PC version of the game and you can check out my impressions below along with the official PC game play trailer for the game.
The basic game play behind Cube: Gardens of Zen is quite simple in design. You basically maneuver a cube around a giant cube-shaped level in one of four seasons. Your task is to gather up the required number of scrolls in order to proceed to the next level. You can roll your cube around in any one of four directions, even off the sides of the giant cube. The one catch is that you must have an object on the side of the cube your falling onto in order to keep your cube from falling completely off the giant cubed level. It might sound a bit odd, but it doesn't take long to get the hang of it all.
The first few levels are quite easy and just basically give you an opportunity to come to grips with the control scheme. There's really not much to it. You can move your cube in four directions using the d-pad and you can rotate the giant cubed level around to view the various sides using the action button. You'll quickly find that rotating the level around is a must if you're to have any chance of beating the more difficult and intricate levels of the game.
As the levels progress the scrolls become more difficult to reach, not to mention the ever-increasing number of hazards that come into play. Everything from water hazards to crumbling bridges will cause you to analyze each and every move you make in order to successfully traverse the tricky levels. The last level of each season generally requires you to locate a character in order to progress on to the next season. While it's quite easy to breeze through the early levels, you'll find that the difficulty will quickly pick up once you progress past the first season.
The overly simple control scheme and mind-bending puzzles are a nice combination and should fit the WiiWare service to a tee. The game is extremely easy to pick up and play in a very short amount of time and there's plenty of easy levels early on to warm up on. The later levels prove to be quite challenging, perhaps too much so for some who will find them frustrating until the solution can be discovered. A lot of it depends on your level of commitment as you'll find yourself playing many of the later levels quite a few times before you finally stumble onto the solution. Those who like a good puzzle game should feel right at home, but those who are easily frustrated with this type of game might want to think twice before diving into this mind-bending puzzler.
The visuals are colorful and pleasing to the eye, but don't expect a lot of detail since the majority of the action takes place on the one giant cube. While the scenery changes with each new season, it can be a long stretch viewing the same basic visual theme in the many levels of each season. After 10-15 levels in the same season, you'll be welcoming the change when you finally do reach a new season.
The oriental-style music in Cube: Gardens of Zen is quirky at times but you can't argue that it fits the action and the scenery quite well. A little more variety might have been nice, but given the nature of the game, it's difficult to fault what the developers were trying to do with the audio package. You can get a little taste of the game's unique musical score in the game play trailer below if you're still curious as to what you can expect from the game's audio experience.
Cube: Gardes of Zen isn't going to revolutionize the puzzle genre, but it does so many things right that it's almost impossible not to like the game. It's basically everything a good game should be with its simple game play scheme and addictive puzzles that never seem to end. Puzzle fans should find a lot to like with the game and even those who aren't big on the rather large number of puzzlers we've already seen on the WiiWare service might want to at least consider giving the game a chance. With 100 levels, you're going to get a lot of bang for your buck with this unique WiiWare title.
We'll have more information on Cube: Gardens of Zen as it becomes available, as well as a full review when the game hits the WiiWare service.