If you're looking for some thought-provoking puzzles, Cuboid delivers dozens upon dozens of them. Expect to spend hours of head-scratching on some excellent conundrums if you download this $10 game from the PlayStation Network store--but be aware that you can play almost the exact same thing for free on the Internet. It's hard to justify spending money on such a clone, and one with broken leaderboards to boot. Yet even with these considerations, Cuboid is a clever and attractive game that will stimulate your gray matter.
Cuboid puts you in control of a rectangular block (essentially two cubes glued together) that you maneuver around a tiled game board toward a glowing hole identified as the exit. To move, you flip the block from surface to surface, taking up either one or two tiles at a time, depending on the direction in which you move. Should you topple over the edge, your block will fall into the abyss underneath and you'll need to start from the beginning. In the meantime, the board itself determines which moves can be made and where, giving you ample room and simple challenges in the early going, and gradually limiting the possibilities as you progress. However, crafty board designs aren't the only curveball that the game tosses you. Eventually you will need to navigate among wooden tiles that break away if you rest the entire weight of the block on them, hit switches to raise additional tiles, and even deal with move restrictions that can be extended only by landing on power-ups scattered across the board.
The mechanic is solid and the learning curve is smooth, so just as you solve one marvelously challenging puzzle, a slightly more difficult one is waiting to take its place. Puzzle fans will enjoy the ensuing mental gymnastics, though if you're an aficionado, there is a good chance that you've already played a game just like it. Cuboid's obvious inspiration, Bloxorz, can be played for free in your Internet browser and features the same mechanics, even down to the various switches that you activate. Though Cuboid features lovely, softly lit backgrounds and a dreamlike soundtrack, its value is questionable in light of this circumstance, so you should exercise caution before forking over the dough. On the other hand, Cuboid features more puzzles than Bloxorz, and many of its board/switch configurations are more intricate--and as a result, more fulfilling.
Online leaderboards also help distinguish Cuboid, ranking you based on the speed with which you solve puzzles. Unfortunately, the leaderboards are completely meaningless because they feature completion times that are impossible to achieve in standard gameplay. This is due to an exploit that lets you misuse the game's pause function to halt the in-game timer. Yet while the leaderboards are functionally broken, you still may want to return to certain levels to achieve a gold-medal time, or solve them in fewer moves. However, the real joy is surpassing the challenge of the level, not in repeating it at a faster tempo. Fortunately, the high quality of the levels helps mitigate Cuboid's relative lack of replay value.
Taken on its own, Cuboid is an appealing game for the thinking puzzle fan. However, it is not a bargain, and one of the features that distinguish it from its free sibling is busted. It's still clever and challenging, and worth considering when you next visit the PlayStation Store. Just purchase with caution: $10 is a lot to ask when there are terrific, wholly original, and fully functional games that you can download on PSN for the same amount of money.