Puzzle Cubicle by Geek Mode Games is a jigsaw puzzle game with frustrating aspects, but aptly delivers several thought inducing conundrums. The game’s greatest faults are with its presentation and its unwavering flexibility on answers.
In Puzzle Cubicle, you need to move pieces on a board to create a pre-determined image that you do not know in an effort to create cubicles. The game utilizes walls and different color cubicles to create various sizes and shapes, including a heart. The pieces can rotate and move around to create the desired image. To help you on your journey is a little guide in the bottom left corner, which is a layout of the grid you are working on. The guide gives you the restrictions of the puzzle and tells you where certain pieces need to be placed, as well as where pieces can not be placed.
The game falters right out of the gate. For those individuals who like to jump right into a game, you will probably be better off. If you decide to read the rules of the game, you are apt to be more confused when you start Puzzle Cubicle up. This wouldn’t be a problem if Puzzle did not oversell itself as matching corridors and what not and just called itself a jigsaw puzzle, because that is what it is. The game’s quasi-helpful instructions can help a little, but you may still need to watch the trailer or some game play to fully understand how to play, until you finally realize it is just a jigsaw puzzle. Once you understand the premise and the controls, the game is fairly straight forward. The one nagging annoyance in the menu beyond the rules is that to select the next puzzle to the left or right, you must press up or down and keep pressing vertical directions to progress to different puzzles.
Another frustration is the color scheme of several facets of game play. When you are selecting different color cubicle pieces the color of the piece changes. The highlighted gray and purple cubicles look exactly the same, so you will have to move back and forth between tiles to make sure tiles are lined up properly and keep a close mental tab on each color when moving and rotating pieces. Additionally, the restriction guide can cause headaches. When the guide has open spaces, those spaces are a slightly different blue from the background of the puzzle. This can easily cause you to ignore the open spaces and sit around a few minutes wondering why the game did not accept your answer. This becomes less of an issue in the later levels as the entire board is typically used.
Puzzle also gets a slight grievance for its pieces that need are required to be in certain spots. Some puzzles require certain pieces to be in certain places. It would be great if the game just put those pieces where they were supposed to be. It would speed up the process as well as provide a better frame of reference for the puzzle. Another great option would be to allow the player to sort of freeze a piece in place if a certain button was placed so it would not be accidently moved and force the player to back track. Additionally, an undo option would be great as well, especially when you are trying to work with certain fronts of the puzzle.
The puzzle is also archaic in its distinction of a correct answer. Some set ups allow for multiple answers, and yet you must have the answer the game deems correct to win the puzzle. This is overwhelmingly troublesome for some puzzles, but not a deal-breaker. Just think of it as another opportunity to solve the same puzzle twice in a different way.
The game does allow you to pick and choose what levels you want to play. This is great for people that want a challenge right off the bat since they can go straight to the harder puzzles, or for people that want variety and go from easy to medium to easy to hard and right back to easy. The added bonus for puzzle-mongers is most of the puzzles are deemed medium or hard in difficulty, so much of the title is beyond simple tasks that could easily make the likely purchaser bored. However, if you like to compare your smarts to others based on how quickly you can complete a puzzle, the in-game timer does not stop when you pause the game.
Another drawback is the title has no replay ability. Once you figure out a puzzle, you already know the answer and can’t really play it again. You could come back a few days, weeks or months later and hope you forgot the solution, but you are likely to remember at least a little bit of the answer to something you spent 10 to 20 minutes trying to figure out.
Despite all its drawbacks and its presentation flaws, Puzzle Cubicle accomplishes what it sets out to do. It is a puzzle game that forces you to analyze and think, and Puzzle Cubicle has that in spades. The cost of the game is comparable to the little word search puzzle books found in grocery story end caps, and you are likely to get the same amount of time out of it, albeit with much more difficult puzzles.
Final Rating: 6/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: XBLIG
Time to completion: 1 – 20 minutes per puzzle
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: A code was provided by Geek Mode Games
Current Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Recommend Purchase Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Why you should buy it: If you love puzzle games and need a fix.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: If you hate stimulating your brain, and/ or puzzles, on a console, or if you are color blind.