The Last Cube is the best kind of game we get in for review here at PSC. It literally came out of nowhere with no fanfare or hype yet we find it entirely took over our gaming for a good week or so. We meant to write this review sooner, but couldn’t stop playing until we’d reached the end of the story. We say story, such as it is. But we felt compelled to continue at any rate.
What immediately struck us was the ability to toggle 4k resolution, making what is already a good looking game look fantastic. We were glad of the option at any rate.
The Last Cube is an excellent puzzle platformer where you can change the properties of your cube by applying one of six stickers to a face of your cube. The first grouping of three levels you’ll tackle are the blue set with the associated X symbol.
In the simplest terms possible, you’re looking to unlock the exit to the next phase by pattern matching your symbol to a key. There’s obstacles aplenty as you progress, the first of which is the puddles that wash the symbols from your cube as you roll.
The key mechanic for all symbols is their properties are only active when they’re facing upwards. X allows you to rotate your cube around for example. Or the red O lets you drop down from a ledge to an adjacent platform by creating a sort of energy step.
Being a puzzle game at its heart, The Last Cube is best played with a clear head or when not tired. Given this reviewer was coming to the end of a fairly intense eighteen week marathon training cycle, that was easier said than done. But play with a clear head we did wherever possible. We were so glad that we did. The odd occasion we got completely logjammed and simply couldn’t work out what to do next. Thankfully the few times that happened we were able to persevere after coming back to the game with fresh eyes.
The subsequent stickers you’ll unlock come with associated levels that incorporate some very cleverly designed puzzles that will test your grey matter as well as reflexes. For example, the red themed levels will include blue stickers, the green clone block theme includes red and blue into the bargain and so on.
Purple teleport stickers are a literal game changer in terms of level traversal, especially since they allow you to bypass another obstacle you’ll face with regularity. There’s reset squares that stop you from bringing any stickers through, but thankfully the teleport lets you pass without incident. Though it’s rarely quite so simple. The fiendish puzzle design comes into play.
You won’t feel hard done by this during normal gameplay. Though the developer/publisher Improx Games would happily have you play levels over and again to fulfil the additional challenges, we might wait until exhaustive YouTube guides appear if we ever want to get a platinum trophy here. The extra stipulations you have to operate within are often quite stringent, we really struggled with one early time trial level despite taking what we knew from having completed the main campaign.
That’s not to mention the bonus levels available to you in the central hub area. Upon finding lore artifacts across the levels and in the hub these extra levels will eventually unlock. They’re a stiff challenge too, requiring you to take all that you have learned and put it into action. We confess we tried a couple and realised the gulf between our abilities and those expected of us. That’s not to say we won’t go back, but this review wasn’t going to write itself.
For now at least, this chapter ends and we’ll bring this review to a close. The level design and associated puzzles on display here are fantastic, if a little overwrought when it comes to the bonus stages. There’s a story here, but it’s very much secondary to the excellent puzzles and well thought out abilities available across the six themes. There’s a heck of a lot on offer here and we can see ourselves revisiting The Last Cube for the forseeable future when we want to tackle a challenge.
+ Brilliantly designed puzzles
+ It's beautiful. Just look at it!
- Bonus levels are perhaps a bit too difficult
- The story such as it is, amounts to nothing