After being away from the world of game creation for many years, Kenji Eno initially expressed interest in creating something for the Wii system back when it was originally unveiled as 'Revolution' due to his love of the Wii Remote concept. After everything going quiet for quite a while, a few months back Kimi to Boku to Rittai hit the Japanese WiiWare service under Nintendo's name. However, as it turned out this was a joint venture between the Kyoto Company and Eno's new team, fyto, which has now been released in Europe as You, Me and the Cubes. Clearly being a fan of 'cubes', Cubed3 went first hands-on with the game at Nintendo's recent WiiWare event in London and has now been busy digging deeper into the final release to see just how good the game is...
At its heart many will see You, Me and the Cubes as being akin to Skip Ltd.'s collection of Art Style games on the DSiWare and WiiWare services. However, Kenji Eno-san has been keen to point out that whilst the concept that him and the team at fyto created is quite basic in princple, it has much more depth than Skip's numerous releases. The game takes place in a mysterious void that has an abundance of cubes floating around, some of which are joined together. Upon those cubes live human-like fellows, named Fallos (fellows --> Fallos - get it?) who love to live in a balanced community...which is where the player steps in.
In You, Me and the Cubes, the player must shake the Wii Remote until two Fallos land inside the controller, identified by a satisfying clunk from its speaker and a quick bit of vibration feedback. Then it is just a case of pointing the on-screen cursor somewhere on the cubes floating in space and then moving the Wii Remote in a downwards motion (there is no difference in throw speed, so feel free to do it gently to prevent wrist strain?) to launch the pair of Fallos onto the surface. If you managed to get the positioning right, then the cube will remain in equilibrium. Should it start to tilt too much, however, due to poor placement, the Fallos will stumble, fall and eventually begin to slide towards the impending doom of the dark abyss below. In a manner rather unlike Human Nature, if one Fallo should find itself struggling to stay alive, clinging to a cube edge in sheer desperation, another will scurry on over to help out. Obviously this can cause chaos with the balance of the cube, so there will definitely be times when you curse their Samaritan-esque ways as it ends up disrupting other Fallos you have carefully placed elsewhere.
There is a time limit to work to and a set number of Fallos that must be balanced upon the cube(s) in that period. Should a Fallo head off into nothingness due to your inability to manage them properly, a penalty will be applied, with five seconds being detracted from the total time remaining and the total required to be thrown once more rising upwards. To spice matters up considerably, every now-and-then, when you shake the Wii Remote to create two Fallos, the usual 'clunk' will not be heard and the controller will not vibrate. Instead a quite unusual sound will be emitted from the Wii Remote speaker, indicating that a Pale Fallo has arrived, ready to cause mayhem on the cubes. These must be thrown into the mix alongside the regular Fallos, but are actually invisible to them, so they can get away with playing pranks, such as scaring some or tripping others up. They also still have a body mass, so will cause more tilting to occur, thus meaning players cannot simply take the easy option of lobbing them far out of harm's way, instead having to carefully place them somewhere out of the way, but in a place that does not result in an imbalance.
There is certainly a lot to take into consideration when placing Fallos as on each stage of the game, extra cubes are brought into the mix. These are joined together with the current ones and to get the best viewpoint they must be spun around using the 'B' trigger button, then players can carefully plan where their next move(s) will be made. Tactics really do come into play regularly throughout - for instance, those pesky Pale Fallos can be knocked out completely by a deft throw of another normal Fallo. Just after performing a mischievous deed, a Pale Fallo will flicker momentarily. Throwing a Fallo at it right at that very moment will obliterate the pest, plus add a bonus ten seconds onto the clock! Another example of the skill forced out of players is where there are multiple cubes and at least one Fallo must be placed on each of them. Once the required number have been thrown, and this goes for all of the challenging single-player levels included in the game, a Judge will watch to see if everything remains at an even keel for three seconds before letting you progress to the next stage. Mix in different types of cubes that affect Fallos in various ways (for example Pulse Cubes repel Fallos if they are thrown at the wrong time), plus the ability to play through levels with a second player, working together to throw Fallos around, and what was initially fun to tinker with in short spells, becomes highly addictive and even greater with a friend tagging along. Those with a sharp mind that can figure out the right way to balance the Fallos in the shortest amount of time will become enamoured with You, Me and the Cubes. Everyone else? Well, some may find the concept confusing at first, but the ease in which it can be picked up and messed around with means that it should be accessible to the majority of gamers and definitely deserves more than just a passing glance...
Such a simple concept has been developed into a thoroughly entertaining action puzzle title. A sharp mind and keen eye are required to succeed in this devilishly tough game.
Not much to look at, other than shaded cubes floating in a dark void, with little people balancing on them. Hardly pushing the Wii, but a game like this does not require overly elaborate visuals.
Kenji Eno is renowned for his audio work and he does not disappoint here, with funky, futuristic tunes that definitely add to the chilled puzzle atmosphere.
Whilst some may think that the amount of levels available is not sufficient, the sheer difficulty of the later stages will keep even veteran gamers struggling for a fair old while. Throw in the two-player co-operative mode and the fun can continue long after the one-player mode is over!
Many expected great things from Kenji Eno's return to the home console scene and he does not disappoint in the slightest. You, Me and the Cubes takes a remarkably simple concept and transforms it into a thoroughly devilish action puzzle product that will leave players dreaming of the poor little Fallos that simply want to live a balanced life on their cubes! Puzzles fans rejoice - another high quality product in your favourite genre has arrived on WiIWare for only 1,000 Nintendo Points.