Cubot - The Complexity of Simplicity is a game that makes a virtue of its simplicity. At its heart, it is very clearly a mobile game transplanted on to the Xbox One. It's fair to say it doesn't stretch the graphical abilities of the console but are the whistles and bells successfully replaced with old fashioned gameplay and fun?
Nicoplv Games (How do you pronounce that? Answers on a postcard!) have made a game about moving blocks. That's it. The whole point of the game explained in a single sentence. Obviously, there is more depth than that, as different colours of cube have different properties, but you know what you're getting into when you fire this game up. Cubot eases you in gently, with only blue blocks to worry about. Blue blocks move only one space in whichever direction you move the stick, making them the simplest cubes to sort. The first eight levels concentrate purely on the blue cube, and can be finished quickly.
The pattern that is set in chapter one is then played out again in the following chapters, as new cubes, switches and even teleporters are introduced into the mix. Red cubes, for instance, follow the movement of the stick but move two spaces, while green cubes move only one space, but in the opposite direction to the one being pressed. We're not going to run through what all the different colours of cube do, as part of the fun is looking at all the different colours and wondering what can happen with single directional input! As you can imagine, the complexity ramps up pretty steeply, and by the end of the tenth chapter, we're not ashamed to say we had to do some digging to find a solution to look at in order to get through things. Luckily, every eight levels you complete allows you to choose an option from the menu where the solution is demonstrated to you. Unluckily, you then have to remember the solution, and follow it to complete the level. It is possible to skip the level once you have seen the solution, but doing this counts as "no result" for that level, and then means that the achievement for completing that chapter won't be awarded.
Replayability of a sort is included, as the game records the amount of moves it took you to compete a level, and then tells you the fewest number of moves it is possible to beat the level in. Quite often on our playthrough, we were in the right neighbourhood, but usually it took us more moves than were strictly necessary as we experimented to find out what worked. However, as all the achievements for the game are awarded for completing chapters, there's no reward for being efficient in the game and we haven't really felt the urge to return and beat our scores.
We have to take a moment here to praise the overall design of Cubot. The menus are deliberately minimalistic, with only a large blue button saying "Play" being shown when you first start the game. This minimalistic theme is followed throughout, with the new cubes being introduced in a simple animation sequence. The music is similarly calming and unobtrusive, and the overall vibe is one of "Let's chill out and just move some cubes, mmkay?"
It really is a relaxing experience, and even the harder levels don't really engender any sense of frustration.
This, then, is the whole experience of Cubot. Move cubes, solve puzzles and unlock the next chapter. Rinse, repeat, and then rinse again. With 80 levels to complete, you'd be forgiven for thinking that there would be an element of longevity to the game, but sadly that is not the case. We completed the 80 levels comfortably inside three hours, and even for the low, low price of £1.59, that isn't a long time. Looking at it from a different angle, three hours for 1000 Gamerscore is a bit of a bargain for players who hunt achievements. There could be more to it, but Cubot is a relatively fun experience overall, with a nice mix of difficulty and frustration.