Like PaRappa the Rapper, Sony's Intelligent Qube is a highly successful Japanese title that, graphically speaking, most US gamers wouldn't look twice at, but wouldn't be able to walk away from if they so much as tried it.
In Intelligent Qube, you are represented by a human figure poised upon a row of levitating 3D blocks. Your goal is to eliminate oncoming blocks and clear the board by setting a "red trap square" (for lack of a better term) down in front of a block's path, then setting it off when the block lands upon it. If you destroy one of the special green blocks, it creates a green trap square, which, when detonated, destroys all blocks above and surrounding it. The real trick to IQ is timing, as the red and green squares are set off with a different button, and the order in which you decide to activate them often leads to radically different results.
You can only be killed in the game by falling off the floating platform, which occurs when rows fall off from the back end, leaving you without any room to stand. The rows fall off when you destroy the dreaded black blocks (which are hard to avoid when dealing with the green squares), let enough normal or green blocks get by, or get crushed, letting all onrushing blocks march off the edge.
If you wipe out all the blocks in a section without destroying any black blocks, you're awarded a 1,000-point bonus and an extra row to stand on. If you meet the par for the section, you get a 5,000-point bonus, and if you can beat it, 10,000. When an entire stage is cleared, a 1,000-point bonus is granted for each row that's left, and you then must confront a new, more complex stage with an even wider row of blocks. When all nine stages are beaten, new options such as alternate characters and modes open up, and you are left to explore these and more difficult levels. If you die along the way, you're given an IQ rating in correspondence to your score, which is usually totally insulting or pretty complimentary. A two-player mode also exists where gamers take on eight stages one after another, each person vying for a better rating. However, the two-player mode is less fun than going it solo, probably because of the nonsimultaneous play.
Intelligent Qube is simple, fun, and horribly addictive, just the way a good puzzle game should be. While the graphics are nothing to write home about (being basic is one thing, but having pop-up and reflection glitches on top of that is pretty sad), and the soundtrack is made up of three repeating, though impressive, tracks, puzzle games are 99 percent gameplay, and IQ mainlines that pretty nicely. Gamers who've waited for a good original puzzle game should check it out.