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ZooCube – Second Opinion

I have two basic rules about puzzle games. They have to: a) be intuitive enough that I can learn the basics without ever having to crack open the manual or try the tutorial; and b) be compelling (read: "addictive") enough that I find myself unable to stop playing even when it's 1 a.m. and I have to be at work tomorrow. As long as said game can fill those two requirements, I'm happy. The good news is that ZooCube fit both criteria very nicely, making for an entertaining game. It's not a masterpiece by any means, but neither is it a washout.

I disagree mainly with Brad on his claim that ZooCube lacks any compelling strategy. True, it does rely more on good eye-hand coordination than quick planning on the gamer's part, but that's not to say that no tactics will be needed on your part in order to be successful. I found myself desperately trying to figure out which side of my Cube I could stack my poor little animal shapes on without creating an unwieldy tower. On top of that, I would be scanning the corners of the TV screen to see what shapes were coming up so I could plan how to "free up" the cube ahead of time. Sure, it's not the same sort of strategic thinking that Puyo Puyo requires, but it's there nonetheless. It's just a little more understated.

I also didn't have a problem with the fact that the Cube only rotates on two axes. It is a cube after all, not an octagon. In fact, I thought it added to the challenge of the game. Having to figure out how to rotate the cube quickly to get where I wanted to be enhanced my enjoyment of the game ever so slightly. If I could have moved the cube about any which way with the greatest of ease, then I suspect the game would've become too easy, and ultimately dull, to see it through.

My only real gripe with ZooCube is the lack of other features. "Blind" mode, as Brad notes, doesn't offer any more thrills than the standard arcade mode. The "Knock Out" mode, where your cube comes "pre-stocked," is a little better, but ultimately it's virtually identical to the basic mode. And don't get me started on multiplayer. That being the case, there's little reason to keep playing ZooCube once you've completed "Classic."

Despite these problems, the game offered enough of a challenge to hold my interest. ZooCube may not be the next Tetris, but it's an enjoyable enough diversion to keep you busy for a few hours and then some. I may not end up dreaming about ZooCube as I did about Tetris in my heady college days, but I've already come to work a little bleary-eyed more than once. Rating:7.5 out of 10.

Category Tags
Platform(s): GameCube  
Developer(s): Puzzlekings  
Publisher: Acclaim  
Genre(s): Puzzle  
ESRB Rating: Everyone  
Articles: Game Reviews  

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