(WiiWare)

Game Review

You, Me, and the Cubes Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

Are these cubes worthy of Rubik, or just rubes?

Anticipation for this title has been somewhat high 'round these parts, thanks to some excellent first impressions by our own Sean Aaron. The only question was whether or not we would ever get our hands on it, but as of this week, we have. And so should you.

Brainchild of the mad genius Kenji Eno, You, Me, and the Cubes is a game of balance and physics. It's a puzzle game where the correct solution will change as you play it, forcing you to react to what you've done and to what's about to happen. It's a game of constant management and correction, and it's very, very good.

Each of the six levels contains six smaller stages, and each of those smaller stages features six individual puzzles to be solved. Solving a puzzle entails flinging pairs of Fallos (tiny little men and women) onto the floating shapes, without upsetting the shape's natural balance. Good luck with that, by the way.

Sometimes these puzzles are straightforward, with a single, perfect cube and an even number of Fallos to place. More frequently these puzzles only seem straightforward, and will reveal themselves to be more difficult to manage once the gravity is disturbed. And other times, of course, the puzzles will be complex, unwieldy, and plucked directly from the nightmares of psychopathic engineers.

As the game progresses, various types of cubes are introduced, each with different (usually detrimental) behaviors. These include rubber cubes, which can bounce your Fallos right into oblivion, cubes that cannot sustain more than a certain number of Fallos, and frozen cubes, upon which your Fallos' weight will not affect the structure's balance.

Knocking the structure slightly off-balance is not a problem, but tip it too far in any direction and the Fallos you've placed can slide screaming into nothingness. The structure rotates after each puzzle, and, when it does, sometimes even the Fallos you've placed successfully will tumble away (as some sinister music plays). You do not need your Fallos to survive this rotation in order to solve the stage, but you will have your number of total survivors displayed at the end of each level, and beating previous records provides good replay value.

The two-player co-op mode will also go some way toward extending the game's life, but it's not very different from the single-player mode. Instead of placing your Fallos in pairs, you will place one, and player two will place the other. It's fun, but unlikely to take much attention away from whatever multi-player games you already play with your friends.

This game gets very difficult quite quickly. While we welcomed such challenge here at Nintendo Life, it's worth pointing out to potential buyers. Don't expect to breeze through this one, and don't expect to be very happy when Pale Fallos appear and start bullying and shoving your perfectly-placed little people into the abyss.

As much fun as this game is, there are a few niggles that prevent it from getting full marks,specifically the controls. Fallos are "loaded" into the Wiimote via a couple of quick shakes, and are launched with a flick. While the flick didn't cause much trouble that we noticed, the shakes would fail to be recognized just often enough that it became a frustration.

This is unfortunate, because the pointer works extraordinarily well, considering that you're selecting points in three-dimensional space. The way in which this game accounts for depth is brilliant and intuitive. But each usage of this exceptional, accurate pointer system is book-ended by tacked-on, unreliable waggle features. There really should have been an option for push-button control, as the constant need to divert attention from the screen in the midst of action to shake the Wiimote at your side is a jarringly amateurish decision in what is otherwise a brilliantly polished game.

The camera, too, only rotates in one direction, and so if you want to move your perspective the other way, you'll have to roll the camera all the way around the cube to get there. In later levels, this unnecessary time-waster can result in lost Fallos, or even an expired timer.

Any other issues we might have had with this game are minor. A few more songs during play would have been nice (there are two), and the tutorial gets a bit chatty, but that's about it. The absence of better control options is the only significant shortcoming, so it's a shame that it's such a big one.

Conclusion

You, Me, and the Cubes is a great deal of logic-based, thoughtful fun, and its puzzles are appropriately satisfying to solve. Its design is an exercise in perfect, effective simplicity, and with only a few tweaks it would have slotted perfectly into the Art Style series. It's clean, it's simple, and it's understated in the best kind of way.

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User Comments (24)

argus

#3

argus said:

6 levels with 6 stage each with 6 puzzles each? Wow... I wasn't expecting that kind of length from this game. 216 puzzles sounds like a great deal, so I might have to get this.

Question: is it possible to skip puzzles, stages, or levels? I ask because it sounds like some of the puzzles can get frustrating. It would be nice to skip a particularly tough puzzle and then come back to it later.

NintenDaan

#4

NintenDaan said:

@argus Well you can choose every series of 6 puzzles you want to play ;)

Good Review, Personally i love this game to pieces. It has a very relaxing atmosphere!

JayArr

#5

JayArr said:

Waaah Ayee!

Being a little sadistic, I love that they scream to there horrible deaths of oblivion.

Wiiloveit

#6

Wiiloveit said:

This looks good, but I would much prefer to play a quick demo beforehand... if Nintendo did demos. Because of this, I'm kinda unsure whether or not to pick it up, although I'll certainly consider it.

Quick question, though: what's with the people standing on the sides of cubes? How exactly does this gravity work?

BlueBandanaJake

#7

BlueBandanaJake said:

@Wiiloveit: If the Fallos are at good balance when you finish with one of the cubes, they'll stick to the cube when it rotates and positions itself for the next cube. At the end of the level (6 cubes all stuck together) they count up all of the Fallos who managed to stick in place (there's a goal amount of these for each stage, but it's not necessary to complete the level, mostly for completionists). The Fallos who are sticking to the cubes have no effect on the gravity of the current puzzle.

Syr

#9

Syr said:

You would think that devs should get the point about unnecessary waggles being annoying after 3 years, oh well..

The game looks great though, I'll definitely pick it up when I get a puzzle itch! Great review, too.

WolfRamHeart

#11

WolfRamHeart said:

Excellent review Chicken Brutus. I am really enjoying this game and I am very glad that I downloaded it. I agree with your score of an 8 for this game. I personally haven't had any issues with the waggle controls not being recognized, well not yet at least. This game does get really difficult very early on and it can also get a little frustrating at times but overall it turned out to be a really unique and very addicting puzzle game. You, Me and the Cubes has plenty of polish and replay value that makes it well worth the 1000 points.:)

Ricardo91

#12

Ricardo91 said:

The screenshots remind me of Intelligent Qube on the PS1, another great puzzle game starring giant blocks. I'll have to give this one a shot.

Pastry

#15

Pastry said:

Yea!! Chicken Brutus got to review a good game!!

I got this even before the review, it rocks the house!

Digiki

#17

Digiki said:

There were a few good taglines in the past little bit, this is most definitely not featuring one of them.

Popyman

#18

Popyman said:

This sounds great! I might cave and get this before Cave Story comes out! One question though, is two player played with one Wiimote? It sounds like it, I just want to make sure.

useafo

#21

useafo said:

I noticed that every game published by nintendo gets great rating,don't you agree with me?

because nintendo knows how to make great games and they know what the fans want.

giannis

#22

giannis said:

i have a question:
every series it seems the same.
do i'm wrong?
by the way is a great game,i love all the puzzles in wii.

Tate24

#24

Tate24 said:

little characters look so cute why do feel sense of gilt when one of them fall's off? :( (sob)

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