Is this new and unique puzzle game worth your hard earned dollar? Read our review to find out!
When I first heard of Zoocube I was intrigued. It was going to be the first puzzle title to grace to GameCube. Not only that, but it was also going to be on the GameBoy Advance. The premise is fairly simple. Match two of the same shape to clear them off of the screen. The thing that makes Zoocube unique is that its playing field is a cube. Pieces move in from one of three directions and attach themselves to the cube. Players must rotate the cube in order to line up the falling pieces and clear them.
Graphically, the game looks good. The 3D movement was pulled off extremely well given the GameBoy Advance’s limited powers. Though to be fair, nothing too intense happens in the game, at least not graphically. You have to wonder why the game is called Zoocube, because for the GBA version of the game, all the colorful shapes had to be stripped of their animal-like qualities. In the GBA game, it’s just falling shapes, not falling animal shapes. Anyway, the animation is fine. Sometimes it looks as if the game is slowing down but this is just a side effect of the cube zooming in and out when pieces are added and removed.
The sound in Zoocube is adequate. It consists of background music and sound effects. The game itself really has no need for sound. As a result, what you get is good but it would be hard to make it anything more. The music is done well and fits the background nicely, and the sound effects match too. There’s nothing much else to talk about.
Zoocube’s controls are very intuitive. The D-pad rotates the cube on 2 of its 3 axes, and by holding the L trigger you can use the D-pad to rotate it along its 3rd axis. The B button juggles pieces. If you have more than once piece on a side of the cube, juggling will cycle through the pieces, changing the order they are on the cube. The A button locks a piece to fall on to a certain side of the cube. So, if a piece is falling on a certain side and another piece starts falling on a different side you can line up the first piece, press A to lock it to that side, and then start lining up the second piece. The controls lend themselves to the fast placed gameplay and work very well.
Gameplay is what puzzle games are all about really. If the gameplay is bad, then the game itself is heavily flawed. Of course, this is true in just about every game period, but it’s more important in puzzle games because often they cannot rely on other things such as graphics to sell them. Thankfully, Zoocube shines in this category. The game itself is innovative. It’s an interesting twist on a classic puzzle theme. It plays easily at first, and can get quite intense at the later levels.
Zoocube, like many of its puzzle brethren, also has some great replay value. Puzzle games don’t tend to have a story...at least not one that’s important. Zoocube has some crazy story about a mad scientist and saving animals with the help of the Zoocube or something. It’s totally pointless and really only exists to set up a wacky premise for a wacky game. The lastability obviously doesn’t come anywhere from this. All of Zoocube’s lastability has been piled into its gameplay. And, as with most puzzle games, it works. The game can get quite addicting at times, which is the true mark of a good puzzle game.
Zoocube is, in a word, fun. It’s pure and simple at its core but at the same time gets very challenging and will require you to fully master it if you want to beat it. But, you don’t have to beat it to have fun. You can just pick up and start playing, and you can always start over if you lose. It’s that simple. If you’re in the market for a good puzzle game, then pick up Zoocube for the GameBoy Advance. You’ll be glad you did.