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The Rubik's cube is up there with Tetris and Suduko in terms of puzzle fame. This DS game not only provides a basic Rubik cube experience, but also riffs on various puzzle minigames using the cube's blocks as key elements.
Mini games come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What unites the genre is the speed with which players can pickup the games and the relatively short time required to complete a level or two.
Rubik's Puzzle World is unique because of it's official licence around that famous twisty turny puzzle. Indeed, the most fleshed out of all the minigames in the collection is a recreation of the traditional cube puzzle. This can be made simpler or more complex by adjusting the dimensions of the puzzle - a 2x2 cube is obviously a lot simpler to solve than a 5x5 monster.
The DS's touch screen creates a great tactile interface in which to manipulate the cube. Essentially, you tap and hold one of the coloured squares and drag in the direction you would like to rotate the section. This, combined with a moveable camera, gets about as close as you can to the real thing.
In addition to the traditional cube puzzles are a raft of different minigames all of which draw on the Rubik's aesthetic. These include Fit where you have to line your cubies to match a hole in a wall. The Roll game tasks you with getting your cubies to the exit by rolling them around the level; avoid falling off the sides and touching enemies. Switch then uses the touch screen to swap cubies around to connect five matching colours. The Colour game has you painting your cubies the correct colour before you can move them successfully towards the exit. Calculate is somewhere between Maths Training DS and Picross DS. Create has you dragging cubies around to create drawings. Finally, Compose enables you to make music with the different coloured sound emitting cubies.
This list is pretty impressive and a lot of effort has been spent to create a game that justifies itself against buying a physical Rubik's Cube. However, apart from the main Rubik game, the other minigames fail to give that sense of fleshed out depth found in other minigame collections (WarioWare: Touched DS for example).
People will be attracted to the game because of the kudos of the brand. Around 5% of the world's population have purchased a Rubik's Cube since it was released in the 1970's - making it one of the most familiar of family brands.
The familiar click clack of the Rubik's mechanics and the physical touch screen make this an appealing (and tactile) experience.
The sheer variety of activities on offer means that it will be some hours before players get a sense of which are their favourites. It is work spending a bit of time with the main Rubik puzzle before heading off to the sub-games. Each game takes no longer than five minutes to complete, and there is a good 20 hours enjoyment here in total.
Young players will enjoy fiddling with the different puzzles, although some may be a little bit of a mystery to them. Without the appreciation of the Rubik phenomenon the game looses some of its gloss.
Intermediate players, particular those who remember the classic 80's puzzle when it was released, are well placed to enjoy the game. It is an ideal replacement for a daily crossword or Soduko in a coffee break. Although not specifically targeted at this market (as Picross DS or Brain Training DS are), it is a surprisingly good fit.
Expert players may be looking for a bit more depth in their puzzle minigames. Rubik's Puzzle Challenge focuses on broad coverage rather then highly developed games. Games like Guinness World Records DS and Tetris DS provide a more engaging experience.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: