Intelligent Qube--Sony's new block-rocking puzzle game--isn't much to look at. With its empty, black backgrounds and rows of marching blocks, the game looks like a no-frills version of Atari's Klax. But then, it isn't IQ's graphics that boosted the game into the top-o'-the-chart stratosphere in japan, where it has sold more than 600,000 copies. This game is as addicting as it is simple.
IQ's goal--to clear waves of blocks--is nothing revolutionary, but it's the simplistic gameplay that hooks you. You start each round as a little guy standing in the path of rows of marching cubes, which come in three types: Normal Cubes, black Forbidden Cubes and green Advantage Cubes. The blocks march in unison toward you and the edge of the level, where they'll slip into the abyss if you don't clear them in time. Your job is to get rid of the Normal and Advantage cubes, while leaving the Forbidden Cubes untouched (oh, and take care not to get crushed by the blocks as they march toward you!).
To eliminate a cube, mark a floor panel in its path by tapping the Circle Button, then jab the button again when the cube rolls onto the panel. Normal Cubes will disappear, but if you clear one of the special Advantage Cubes, you can tap the Triangle Button to clear as many as nine nearby blocks. The trick is to clear all the blocks--except the black Forbidden ones, which must be allowed to fall off the edge--in as few turns as possible (each forward roll of the cubes counts as a turn). Clear a Forbidden Cube and a portion of the level will crumble away, leaving you less room to maneuver.
And that's pretty much how the game progresses, level after level. No fancy power-ups. No gee-whiz special effects. Still, IQ does pack a potent incentive to keep you going. When you screw up, it displays your IQ rating, and if you play like an idiot, you'll earn the appropriate score. And getting a high IQ takes more than just making it to higher levels; you'll have to clear each wave of cubes quickly, making every turn count.
IQ's simple graphics and gameplay carry over into other parts of the package, too. Besides some brief tutorials and five different texture sets, IQ offers few options. And the Two-player Mode has players taking turns rather than competing head-to-head, so don't expect any heat-of-the-moment shouting matches like those spawned by multiplayer Tetris Attack.
- MANUFACTURER - SCEI
- THEME - Puzzle
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
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Frankly, I thought this game looked boring and stupid the first time I saw it. After I played it for 10 minutes, I thought I was right. Then one hour passed, then another. Pretty soon, I was hooked (and majorly surprised, needless to say). I couldn't believe this simple-looking game could be so challenging and addicting, intelligent Qube isn't artificially difficult. That means you'll never get frustrated at the game for your boo-boos, only at yourself. The gameplay is also excellently balanced, rewarding you for good performance (by adding room on your short plank) or punishing you for screwing up (by taking valuable playing space away). It's simply a wonderful concept that is well executed. Puzzle fans, make sure to give IQ a chance (i.e., play it for more than 10 minutes). I do have a few minor complaints. First, what's with the slowdown? Are cubes that hard to render? Second, many of the cubes are laid out in the same patterns (because only a few combinations are possible). This makes IQ a bit predictable (and easy to beat) at times. Third, the game is too short. I beat it in one right, and it didn't have enough cool modes to keep me coming back for a whole lot more. Fourth, I can't figure out why the game keeps telling me that my IQ is below zero. Just kidding. But make sure to try IQ out. You'll be surprised.
IQ is a simple, relaxing, even classy puzzle game, so it sounds completely dull, right? Not at all. Despite its no-frills graphics, IQ puts a fun and novel spin on the genre. And completing each stage below the par score takes more brain power than any puzzle game yet. I only wish IQ had a Two-player, Head-to-Head Mode (as it is, each player takes turns), but then, that kind of fast-paced action would probably , seem out of place in this game.
No falling pieces here! This game is both original and challenging (almost frustrating). True to its name, it's centered around planning and execution rather than simple fast reflexes. There are few last-minute saves and lucky combos to compensate for real "IQ." Visually the 3-D doesn't look too hot, but it does what it was intended to. A Two-player Simultaneous Mode would've been welcomed, but this is more about challenging each individual.
Wow, what's with all of the good games this month? IQ is a refreshingly unique puzzle game that is both highly addictive and a nice change of pace from all the "me-too" block droppers that have been flooding the market lately. Once you get the hang of playing (it can be tough at first, but the game has a Rules option that explains it all), you'll be hooked for a good long while. Also worth mentioning is the game's fantastic musical score.
Even in preview form, Intelligent Qube played like a slick, seriously addicting puzzler, featuring large 3D cubes that roll inexorably forward on a 3D cube grid. Your job is to use the directional pad to run a tiny man around in front of the cubes and mark spots that will make them disappear. While the cubes can crush your man, those that reach the edge eliminate a row of the grid. Once you've cleared the field, it's on to the next one. Intelligent Qube could sprain your brain, but you won't have to be a square to play it .