Cuboid

Cuboid

Cuboid

Block and roll.

100 years from now, deep in the fiery depths of Hell itself, a meeting will take place between Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, whoever it was that invented the kind of plastic that cheese comes in, and Mikhail Kharlamov, the lead designer of the modest PSN puzzler, Cuboid. Seated around the flaming dinner table, having just finished off a feast composed of Cillit Bang-fried chicken and Vienetta, washed down with a generous serving of Vimto, the man responsible for the Third Reich will turn to Kharlamov in a contemplative manner, and say, "Sure, I've started wars, I've exterminated millions, and I've put fear and murder into the heart of my own people, but tell me: just how did you make the level called 'Flos' so incredibly difficult?"

And the answer? It's very possible that Kharlamov won't be able to say. Cuboid is spatial puzzling at its most austere, a series of brief, microsurgically-precise geometrical challenges which are handled, for the most part, by an area of the human brain that doesn't seem to be wired up to your internal dictionary. When you complete a level, it's often hard to say exactly how you did it; likewise, when you finally pull off a tricky manoeuvre after a half-hour of frustration, it's generally impossible to pin down just what it was that eventually clicked. Your fingers may know, some magical lump of bio-electrical goop inside your skull probably knows, and Cuboid itself certainly knows, but nobody's willing to say much on the subject.

But even if its strategies are hard to explain, Cuboid is ridiculously simple to actually play. Your task is to roll a rectangular block across a series of increasingly intricate tiled mazes, eventually dropping it through a glowing hole at the end of the course. The block is twice as tall as it is wide, which means that you switch between taking up one and two tiles at a time as you role, end over end, around the floor. The mazes aren't always that tough, but actually working your way over to the exit is often the simple part, the real challenge kicking in once you get there and discover that you're lined up incorrectly, falling across the target rather than neatly into it. In these cases, you'll have to back up, perform some bizarre Euclidean variation of parallel parking, and try again. And when, inevitably, you get it all horribly wrong and fall off the edge of the maze, or leave even half your block dangling over empty space, it's game over and back to the beginning of the round.

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