Rubik's Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH
WiiWare | Two Tribes / The Game Factory | 1 Player / 2 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now | 600 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer); Wii Remote and Nunchuk
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14th May 2010; By KnucklesSonic8
When I first saw footage of this game in action, thoughts of SEGA's game for the Dreamcast, Chu Chu Rocket, immediately sprung to mind. Those familiar with the that game will have no trouble whatsoever in making the transition to RUSH. The main object of the game is to guide a series of cubes from pre-determined spots to a specific destination zone. To do so, you'll need to place signs to direct them accordingly but it's not as easy as it sounds. In addition to placing them in the correct spot, you also need to be aware of the different speeds each cube travels at, as well as how they interact with the different signs. If a cube hits a wall, it will travel towards the right or, back in the direction it came from if something is in its path. Some puzzle solutions will require you to take this into consideration and you'd be surprised with the amount of depth there is in the game.
The entire game is played using the Wii Remote, allowing for one-handed controls. If you so desire, you can attach the Nunchuk to take control of the camera, to take a look at puzzles from multiple views. To place a signs, you use the A Button to point at the toolbar on the right of the screen, select the sign you wish to use, and press A once again to place it. When there's only one sign to place (like in the first set of levels), all you need to do is aim at a square on the level and an outline will appear; pressing the A Button will confirm its location. If you don't like the placement, you can press the B Button to remove it. If there's a lot of signs on the playing field, you can also press the Minus Button to clear them all. When you think you've solved the puzzle (or even if you want to check if you're on the right track), point your cursor on the green checkmark in the top-left hand corner of the screen to let the cubes start moving. If all the cubes make it to their correct spots with falling off the world or colliding with another shape, then you'll advance to the next stage.
When you first play Rubik's Puzzle Galaxy: Rush, you're introduced to a text box which tells you that the team has "prepared some really challenging puzzles", and they certainly aren't kidding. When you advance to the later worlds, clearing stages will require a lot more thinking than you might initially realize. Don't let this intimidate you, though. At the start of the game, you'll have a series of tutorial stages to clear before you're let out on your own. These will provide helpful hints that you can remember and carry with you as head to the more difficult puzzles.
As you advance to new worlds, you'll need to take advantage of new stage gimmicks in the form of new signs. For example, the split sign will change directions and send cubes away with a left-right alternating pattern. These will see the most use in stages that contain two goal points. Green conveyor belts cause cubes to slide in a linear movement once they touch it. Speed-up and slow-down panels will change the speed at which the cubes travel, useful for avoiding collisions when dealing with multiple sets of coloured shapes. There are a bunch of other signs you'll encounter on your journey, and they certainly help with the variety in puzzle solutions.
Although the game uses a simple concept, the developers didn't use this an excuse to chuck other important variables out the window. From the cool-looking cursor, to the nice outer space visuals, everything done in the form of presentation makes for a game that not only plays good but looks good too. At the end of each stage, you get congratulated by a robotic announcer, and mini Rubik's Cubes are shot into the sky and explode into fireworks. The music is also very pleasing. The game manages to find a good balance of sounds that are neither boring nor overwhelming to listen to. It's touches like these that make for some effortlessly-slick presentation values.
The variety of modes is also somewhat impressive. In addition to the Tutorial world, you have the Easy. Medium and and Hard sets of puzzles, as well as a separate Rubik's Cube option. Now, in this mode, you can engage in multiple gameplay modes based off the original inspiration for this game. The first of the four acts a lot like the Copycat mode from PLATTCHEN, and it's pretty enjoyable. Basically you're given an image at the top of the screen and you need to switch the Cube's rows and columns to match the colors shown. If you actually would like to solve a 3D Rubik's Cube, you can do just that in 'Classic' mode. Each time you play, the cube patterns will shuffle randomly so there's definitely some replay value for you there if you find yourself enjoying it. If you'd like a better understanding of how to play, you can also consult the '3x3 Tutorial' for this mode. Fans of the real-life handheld game will especially click with this side-mode.
At times, the game can get you frustrated with not being able to solve a puzzle, but what lowers the stress levels is the fact that there's no time limit. This is a great feature because it allows players to take their time and explore multiple possibilities. The side-options under the 'Rubik's Cube' menu are timed, though, so you can always compare your stats with people in the household, or, in some cases, you can even challenge a friend to a race. If you're feeling confident, you can upload your best records from 'Classic' and 'Score' modes to the Wi-Fi leaderboards and see how you compare with other players around the world.
There are 66 puzzles in total, and although you can plow through half the game in a short amount of time, the second half will take you long to clear on your own. For the first few days, it can be quite addicting but months later, you may not be as into it as some of the other puzzles on WiiWare. What might have helped with this is a mode for custom stages. An option like this would've worked really well here and it's a shame this wasn't considered for the final product. But even without it, lots of playtime should be derived from this, especially amongst families. This is definitely a game that they can play with their children and get their brains thinking.
Almost coming across as two games in one, Rubik's Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH is a steal for only $6. It has a wide range of appeal to so many audiences, and it uses a simple concept that gets more challenging and fleshed out as you go along. Although it may wear off after some time, there's no denying that there's a lot of value in this package and a decent amount of replayability as well. A great example of simple, yet elegant puzzle gaming. I can't wait to see what else Two Tribes has in store for this series.
25/30 Very Good
Gameplay 8/10 - Simple concept but well fleshed out, lots of tricky puzzles, can play at your own pace, good sense of variety too
Presentation 9/10 - Visuals are effortlessly impressive, music is just right, little touches make this a pleasure to play
Enjoyment 4/5 - Can be quite frustrating later on, sense of accomplishment gained from completing later puzzles, can be quite addicting
Extra Content 5/5 - Over 60 stages, 'Rubik's Cube' mode, multiplayer component, compare select stats on both local and Wi-Fi leaderboards
Equivalent to a score of 83% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)