You, Me, and the Cubes Review (WiiWare)

Posted by Jim Cook, Sep 24, 2009 05:13

Some developers just don’t understand how to really build a game around the Wii Remote, naively treating it like a magic fun stick where you just wave it around and create joy. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some of them really do get it and use its mix of motion controls and ’point and click’ abilities to create a great, intuitive game. You, Me, and the Cubes falls into the latter category; it’s a physics puzzler that requires you to balance Fallos (human-like creatures) on free-floating cubes. They have weight, so if you put a Fallos in the wrong spot the cube is going to tip over and they’ll fall off; drop enough Fallos this way and you lose.

All you need to play is one or two Wii Remotes, but this game makes nearly full use of each feature they have. Each stage presents you with a floating cube, then you shake the controller to create a pair of Fallos. After that, point and click at where you want to throw them, then make a soft pitching motion and the pair will be tossed onto the stage. If you picked good spots for them to land, they’ll quickly find their balance and the cube will stay safely upright. If you’re slightly off, that’s okay; they can deal with a little tilting. On the other hand, putting them in very uneven distributions will quickly cause the stage to tip over, dropping most or all of the Fallos into the void below. Your job thus is to balance a certain number of them on each part of the stage, and hold that balance for a few seconds to finish the level.

This starts out very simple with a single wide cube on the earliest stages; just have the first pair of Fallos land near the center and you’re done. But whenever you complete a cube, another cube is added to it and it generally won’t be an even, neat attachment. Eventually your playing field is several cubes linked together in inherently unbalanced shapes, and you have to have at least one Fallos on every cube in the stage. Plus you’re fighting a time limit, so you have to be both smart and quick.

If that was all there was to this game, it would get old quickly. But the developers knew that, and new content is added every few stages. Sometimes it comes in the form of cubes with unusual physics, such as ones that are either particularly easy for a Fallos to stand on, or may bounce them around. In other cases, it’s a break-up in your usual routine; shaking the controller sometimes results in the creation of a single "Pale Fallos" whose main purpose is to attack normal ones, knocking them down. Other problems and assistance show up throughout the game, keeping things fresh.

It’s interesting to note that the Fallos, as living, human-like creatures, are not just lifeless weights on the cubes. If one Fallos falls and another one is nearby, they’ll try to help one another stay on their cube. This is a neat touch, and it adds some personality to what is otherwise an intentionally sterile, empty void broken up only by the cubes and their occupants. Their cooperation is also important on some stages, since you may need them to help each other stay on some particularly unbalanced parts of the stage while you work on correcting the weight shift.

Most stages are short, taking only a few minutes to complete. But you get dozens of them, plus there is a two player co-op mode. Combined with the gradually increasing challenge and new things you’ll encounter every so often, You, Me, and the Cubes manages to have acceptable length. An intuitive idea, excellent pacing, and nearly perfect use of the Wii Remote as a controller for this physics puzzler all add up to a great way to spend $10, so the next time you pick up some Wii Points you should definitely consider buying this; I’d recommend it to just about anybody.

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Our Rating for You, Me, and the Cubes Review (WiiWare)
6.0 Replay
You’ll probably come back for a few extra sessions, but repetition does set in eventually even with the new challenges you encounter every so often.
6.0 Graphics
Very minimalist; the Fallos and nearly everything else in the game are simple in design, but this makes it very easy to keep track of the situation.
7.0 Sound
A similarly bare-bones approach is used on the game’s sound effects, consisting of simple bumps and other basic noises. The music however is often very soft and relaxing, fitting the ’empty void’ motif the graphics present.
8.5 Gameplay
The core mechanic of "shake, point, click, fling" to get Fallos onto the cubes is very easy to learn, but various things add depth to this balancing puzzle.
8.5 Multiplayer/Online Content
The co-op mode can be fun with a friend, or you can just play it "John Woo style" with one Wii Remote in each hand, and that’s also enjoyable.
8.5 Overall
A simple concept done very well with extra depth coming at just the right pace, You, Me, and the Cubes is a perfect fit for the WiiWare catalog.

Rating: 0.0, votes: 0

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