IGF Spotlight: Toys and Sugar Cube

We take a look at student showcase winner, Toys and IGF China best game Sugar Cube.

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Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory
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Toys (2010)
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Toys is a spatial-awareness puzzle game. Each puzzle contains a certain number of displaced cubes that you must arrange back into their original positions simultaneously. There are no buttons; instead, you use your mouse to move the cubes around.

Toys
Toys

There are 12 puzzles in all, and the lower the score, the better. You achieve a lower score if you can solve the puzzle in the shortest time possible. This game is browser based and no install is required. There’s high replay value, especially when you try to beat your own personal records.

Sugar Cube is a trial-and-error platforming game. As in all platformers, the ultimate goal in Sugar Cube is to leap from a starting position to an exit. What sets Sugar Cube apart from other platformers is that each level is laid out in a grid, and every square on the grid has two states. Once you cross a square, it will often change into something else, such as a ladder, a platform, a spike trap, or an enemy.

Sugar Cube
Sugar Cube

There is no way to know what each square will become until you cross it. A subsequent crossing of the same square causes it to revert back to its original state, with enemies being the exception. You must use experimentation and wits to figure out which squares to change or not to change. You must also determine what order to change squares in to make it to each level's exit alive. Though there is a lot of death involved in Sugar Cube, a fairly consistent logic emerges early. For example, if you reveal a ladder, it's going to lead to a platform. The controls are responsive, and once a route is discovered, death is usually attributed to pilot error.

Sugar Cube
Sugar Cube

In between stages, you are treated to a minimal plot about a sugar cube that doesn't want to end up in somebody's hot beverage. Overall, Sugar Cube is an entertaining concept that doesn't quite add enough innovation to stand out in the genre, but it is entertaining while it lasts.

For more on games like this, check out the Downloads Blog on GameSpot.

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