Rubik's World Review
Wii | DS
Rubik's World box art
System: Wii, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Two Tribes 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: The Game Factory 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 4, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

It's been decades since Rubik's Cubes took the world by storm, but to this day, they're a far from uncommon sight in households worldwide. Hoping to capitalize on the puzzle's familiarity, developer Two Tribes and publisher The Game Factory recently brought Rubik's World to the Wii.

Rubik's World screenshot

If you want, you can use Rubik's World to solve the famous twistable-square conundrum. It's surprisingly easy to manipulate the cube with the Wii-mote; the physical cube feels more natural, but in the game, it's never frustrating to grab a row and twist it with the pointer. You can move the camera with the Nunchuk joystick or by pointing the Wii-mote at the screen, pinching the A and B buttons, and pulling the view wherever you want. If the standard three-by-three sides are too easy or too hard to make solid colors out of, you can solve cubes of three other sizes. Still not enough? Start with a solved cube and match it to a scrambled one the game provides. There's even a complicated tutorial on Rubik's Cube techniques.

Few people will buy a $40 video game to play with a $10 cube, though. Most players will spend their time in the seven other areas, which are populated by "cubies," or the little cubes of various colors that make up the Rubik's Cube. These game modes unlock quickly as you work your way through them, and they're a mixed bag: two are brilliant, two are annoying, one is uninventive, and the last two are whatever you make of them.

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Hands-down, "Guide" is the best part of Rubik's World. Each puzzle in this area takes place on a three-dimensional grid landscape. Several colored spawners spit out cubies, which roll end-over-end in a given direction, and for each color, there's at least one recepticle. Your job is to place arrows in the cubies' paths directing them from their spawners to their recepticles. You have to keep adjusting your signs until they can make it to safety without touching each other or falling off the edge.

Rubik's World screenshot

It's a simple concept, and the first few solutions should be glaringly obvious to anyone with a double-digit IQ, but the puzzles get complicated in a hurry. The level design is ingenious, rarely giving you more signs than you absolutely need, and some of the trickiest levels are the simplest-looking. Some signs speed up or slow down the cubies, and a triangle sign splits them up, sending the first cubie right, the second left, the third right, and so on.

You can work out most of the puzzles with some time, serious thought, and persistence, but a few are maddeningly difficult, especially the ones that require adjusting the cubies' speed. At first, we weren't convinced that the final two puzzles were even possible (some time later, it turned out they were).

Rubik's World screenshot

"View" mode is also terrific, if a little less addictive. Here, you have a big, clear, empty cube you can fill with cubies. The goal is to make three sides of the cube look like the three pictures the game gives you; the catch is that you're limited in how many cubies you can use, and because the big cube is (of course) three-dimensional, every time you make a change to one side, you have to think about how it affects the others. As in "Guide" mode, the puzzles are clever and challenging.

In "Switch" mode, the puzzles are still challenging, but far less clever. This is a standard "put blocks of a like color together and they disappear" game. This is worthwhile for diehard puzzle fans only.

"Fit" and "Deconstruct" might be too much for even the diehards, though they're the game's only multiplayer modes (up to four players, only one Wii-mote necessary). In the former, each puzzle has some cubies, some platforms, and a colored wall in the foreground. In the background is a wall with some parts cut out of it. The goal is to arrange the cubies, sometimes by smashing them into the colored wall to flatten them, so they're all in front of the holes in the background wall. Then you press the B button. This brings the background wall forward, and if the cubies are placed properly, the next puzzle comes up. If you didn't place the cubies correctly, the wall will knock them to the floor, and it's game over.

Screenshots / Images
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