Upon a cursory glance, building games for the iPhone would be a designers dream. The screen is huge (for a phone), the device is powerful, and then there’s those awesome touchscreen and accelerometer interfaces you get to work with. It doesn’t take long to realize that the novelty of the iPhones interface wears of quickly when trying to adapt it to a game. Using the touchscreen to control pieces often blocks the action in a scene and games that use the accelerometer’s interface give the gamer motion sickness. So far, what’s worked best on the iPhone has been to keep the game simple. So far, one of the most addictive games I’ve played has been CubicMan by Passionfools.

CubicMan is basically an iPhone port of Bloxorz, a fantastic flash based strategy game by Damien Clark. The goal is to navigate a block through a puzzle and getting it to land on a certain square. Dragging your finger on the screen in a direction will roll the block in that direction. Roll too close to the edge and your block falls off.

The original CubicMan was only nine levels long and didn’t have any extra obstacles on the boards, but the newest edition of CubicMan (released today) is 21 23 levels and has included several “buttons” and extra challenges to keep the game from getting monotonous.

Like I said, the game is pretty much just a port of Bloxorz, but it does adapt well to the iPhone. It took about 30 minutes to beat, but unlike most puzzle games each level can be solved different ways, so the game remains highly re-playable. I’m glad they added new levels, sounds, and features, but there are still a few things I feel the game is lacking;
1. Save. Why don’t all iPhone apps include save options, or even an autsave mode? Most of these games are casual games, great for bus rides, etc. But everytime you turn off the game, you have to restart from the first levels, which becomes tedious. nevermind, see dr_watson’s comments below
2. Multiplayer function. This would be best in a real time format, but it could be done by two or more players on the same device by pitting players against each other one level at a time using either a move counter or timer to determine scores.
3. Limitations. Like I said, the game is only 21 levels long, and very re-playable, but why? What goal is there to work for? Perhaps the game can get increasingly difficult by limiting the number of moves available on each level. On the first run through, each level could allow up to 250 moves, but after betting the 21 levels, the next round could only allow 200 moves.

This game is a must have for easily amused iPhone users and a great example of simple/addictive play. I don’t think it has to just be a strategy game though… I could see a game with similar play/objectives, but perhaps it could have “villians” that you have to avoid in the process of getting in to the end. Add in “gold coins” and time bonuses and the game shifts to an objective of getting to the end while obtaining high scores.







10 responses to “CubicMan

  1. dr_watson Avatar

    Thanks for the review 🙂

    CubicMan does have auto-save feature. If it didn’t work for you, it must be a bug!

    You should be able to select the levels you’ve played before through the level selection screen:

    Also, there are 23 levels 😉

  2. doc Avatar

    Woah, you are right.
    After I got to level 15 I wanted to take a break, but I was scared I’d have to start from the beginning again (which was the case with the first CubicMan, right?). I searched in the options for a save feature, but couldn’t find one so I assumed there where none.
    I actually hadn’t re-opened the program since posting this review, so I failed to see the level selects. I probably would have discovered them soon enough though.
    And thanks for the clarification on the levels too.

  3. Francis Avatar

    I’ve been playing CubicMan for awhile. It’s great fun! I’m glad more levels were added, as playing the first nine over and over got tedious…

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  5. shahzeb Avatar

    Wow it feels great to play games like cubic man and I finished all challenging levels. I really congratulate all the participants involve in building cubic man and now want to see more like time challenge or number of moves limitation or something like multiplayer in a different version.

  6. Jason Avatar

    Nice write-up, Doc. I got to play this on Doc’s phone a couple weeks ago, it was just my type of game.

  7. tiffany Avatar

    This is stupid.
    So are u fatty for writing this.
    Cube man.
    Meet trainglarman.

  8. golfman_story Avatar

    What a useful post here. Very informative for me..TQ friends…

  9. Slingshot RPM Avatar

    This game is simply yet very hard to crack. It gives you some time to think on what to do next. Good thing they made one for iPhone. Great game!

  10. Funk Avatar

    Nice post! Cubic Man is like entertaining. I want to have a try.

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