Review: Rubik's Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH (WiiWare)

You should all RUSH to buy this charming WiiWare puzzler.

After the excellent WiiWare launch title Toki Tori, everybody was hoping Two Tribes would create more games for the service. It took a while, but their second title is now finally available!

Based on just one part of their retail Wii title Rubik's Puzzle World, the gameplay is not unlike that of Toki Tori. You must place items in the correct positions on the playing field in order to safely allow all automatically spawning cubes to roll towards the exit points of the same colour. It's here where Sega fans might notice something; the gameplay is suspiciously similar to that of the Dreamcast title Chu Chu Rocket! in which you had to guide mice towards an escape rocket in much the same way. That's not even close to a bad thing, though - ChuChu Rocket! was a great game, and so is this.

RUSH has a lot more possibilities. Aside from the basic arrow tiles, which simply change the direction a cube that rolls over heads in, there are also tiles that speed up or slow down cubes, a stop sign that makes them stop for a brief moment, conveyor belts that do not change a cube's direction but simply push them one space to the side, and splitter tiles, which will alternately send any cubes that cross in one of two directions, in order to space them out a little and/or separate different colours.

In Chu Chu Rocket!, there was the ever-lurking danger of cats. If any mouse were to touch a cat, it would be eaten and you would instantly fail the stage. Rubik's Cubes do not have any natural enemies in the wild (that we know of), so there's a different danger to be constantly aware of. Unlike Sega's specially bred magical mice that were able to pass through each other, these cubes are completely solid, so if one touches another, all action immediately grinds to a halt and the offending cubes will be highlighted, so you can see where it all went wrong.

Instead of being played entirely in a fenced-in 2D space, RUSH is played on a floating 3D block formation, so another thing you'll have to watch out for is cubes merrily making their way off the edge and plummeting to their doom. Save for teleporters, there is also no way for cubes to possibly get up ledges, so think well before you create a setup that sends them to a lower platform. The final thing to be aware of is that cubes will always turn right when they touch a wall, if they are blocked there as well, they will make a 180-degree turn and go back the way they came.

When you first start up the game you'll be forced to play through six tutorial stages teaching you exactly how all tiles work. After this, you're given a handful of "Easy" stages, which will unlock additional ones when solved, for a total of twenty. About half-way through that number, you'll unlock the "Normal" stages. A bit more challenging, these will make you think for a while, but should still be fairly doable.

Half-way through the Normal set, you'll unlock the "Hard" stages, which is where the game suddenly takes a massive leap in difficulty, as these twenty stages are incredibly challenging and will require a lot of thinking, especially considering most of them have ten or more objects to correctly place! It's not that surprising though - most of Toki Tori's final stages were also incredibly difficult to figure out! Believe it or not, though, these still aren't the hardest the game has to offer - There's even more difficult stages afterwards, which should break down even the manliest of men.

Of course, a game based around Rubik's cubes wouldn't be complete without an actual Rubik's cube. If you ever long for the old days, the game includes a digital version of the classic toy everybody knows and loves, so you can see how well you do at solving it using the Wii Remote. If you're confident, you can also upload your score to Wi-Fi leaderboards and see how you match up against others.

Overall, RUSH is slightly easier than Toki Tori. One reason for this might be the fact that there is no player character to control. All you have to do is place all items in the correct positions and then release the cubes to see if your solution was right.

The graphics and sound in RUSH are pleasing, everything looks nice and simple, and the music goes along with that, although it can still be quite catchy. As a result, those still worried about their Wii's storage space don't need to worry, as it means the game comes in at just over 100 blocks.

Conclusion

If you loved Toki Tori, you'll love this. If you loved Chu Chu Rocket!, you'll love this. At a mere 600 Nintendo Points with over 70 puzzles, you're getting quite the bargain. It may look simple on the surface, but some of the later puzzles are deceptively difficult, and will have you coming back again and again just to try out a new strategy (only to have you very likely fail again!). On top of that, this is just the first in a series of Rubik's cube-based WiiWare games. We look forward to more!