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ZooCube Advance Package Art
 GENRE
  Puzzle Kings / Graphic State
 DEVELOPER
  Acclaim
 PUBLISHER
  1-2
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  no
 CONNECTIVITY
  no
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ZooCube Advance

It seems that the most unique and bizarre concepts tend to succeed as puzzle games. Remember Wetrix? Well, ZooCube has the same kind of bizarre spin to it. The idea is that you’re trying to release animals from being trapped in shapes by pairing up pieces as they fall on your cube. Developers Puzzle Kings and Graphic State have come up with a bizarre idea that translates well onto Advance, even though you won’t see a single animal in the game. Still, the play mechanics are interesting and it’s one of those games where you’ll forget everything and just zone out for hours, busily matching pieces.

visuals

As I said, you won’t be seeing any animals running around in this mini-version of ZooCube. But you’ll see the different shapes coming at you quite perfectly. This is attributable to the “dumbed” down background and the well-defined colors—not to mention the clarity and definition of each shape.

Your main focus centers upon the cube as you spin it in order to line up the incoming piece with an existing piece already stuck to your cube. The visuals in the advance version are functional and effective.

audio

A solid soundtrack pulls along the audio, and appropriate sound effects give you a heads up as to what’s going on in the game play. That said, every puzzle game needs a good “fart” sound when you die. Unfortunately, ZooCube doesn’t deliver on the FRRRRT of death. I will, however, allow the developers to live, even with this massive folly.

gameplay

Looks hard, plays simple, it is hard. You have to line up like-pairs to eliminate pieces from your cube. If you amass six pieces on any side of your cube, the dreaded death knell will toll for you. Sounds easy right? Well, try doing that by spinning your cube and switching pieces using the B button when pieces are falling at you from every direction. Now who’s the tough guy huh?!?

The other cool thing is that smashing pieces alone will not take you up to the next level. You’ve got to master the game by racking up three things. There are “juggle” points (which I still can’t figure out totally because of the puny manual), “balance” points (where your ball has the same pieces on each side), and little "bonus" thingies that you pop when they attach to your cube. I know it sounds vague, but to be honest, the tutorial and manual didn’t really help here. Having said that, ZooCube will feel like it’s worth figuring out. It’s a fun and challenging game that will zone you out for hours. This is the classic script for a puzzler game success story!

multiplayer

Now you can play ZooCube at a rave with your girl after you both tab out on the local meds. Just remember, after you start zoning, that no, you haven’t gone blind, the GBA screen is that dark.

overall

Tetris Worlds was disappointing, whereas ZooCube caught me by surprise. It’s a fresh concept on the falling pieces bit, and it’s fun too. That’s the most significant distinction. It’s fun and worth playing. Check it out!

final score Puzzle/10


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