tís well known that every handheld needs a puzzle game. The Gameboy had Tetris, and now the DS hasÖ well it has Tetris, but it also has Trion Cube.
Coming from the man responsible for Mr Driller, hopes were high for this quirky block puzzler, and on paper at least it offer something a little special. Your task is to fly through space to rescue a princess whoís managed to crash her ship (*insert ďwomen drivers!Ē joke here*), for some reason you need to collect coins to travel the distance, which for some reason you collect by destroying blocks. For all its plot based wackiness, Trion Cube is essentially just Tetris with a nice combo system. Blocks are destroyed by creating 3X3 squares, only in Trion Cube they donít disappear, instead you can keep adding and eventually create a screen-filling combo, netting you massive coin and point bonuses.
Thereís really not much more to Trion Cube than that, the graphics are simple but suitable, and the DSí features arenít used other than some animations on the top screen. The sound however does deserve praise, the comedy spot effects never fail to raise a smile, especially as the action heats up. Unlockables consist of some new backgrounds and effects, but nothing thatís going to revolutionise the way you play the game.
Trion Cubeís strength is undoubtedly how easy it is to learn; within minutes of loading the game up for the first time youíll get your first significant chain, and not long after that youíll regularly be half filling the screen with combos. Unfortunately this ease of use is also its biggest weakness; story mode may well be completed on your first attempt, although youíll return to it numerous times for the sheer joy of it. Youíll never feel in danger of failing, of filling the screen with un-combo-ed blocks, it just doesnít have the threat level of Tetris. Indeed itís only once you get past the halfway mark of í99-level modeí that youíll feel like the game really requires your attention.
The onus then falls on you, the combo system works well enough for players to be able to test themselves and seek to best their scores, but other than to earn coins to buy more unlockables, thereís little real incentive to do so. More frustratingly the game eventually caps what you can achieve. Because the top screen isnít used for gameplay, once youíve chained to the top of the bottom screen there is nowhere else to go and the chain ends. Sure itís nice to be rewarded with platinum coins, rather than gold, silver or bronze, but once youíve managed it a few times the thrill dissipates. Much better would be the possibility of creating an infinite combo, either through a scrolling screen, or by only destroying half the blocks, once you get to the top row, so you can carry the combo on.
The lack of challenge really is what stops Trion Cube from being anything close to essential, itís an enjoyable little game for a few hours, but then it just becomes too easy to be worth your time. There is promise there, and it would be a shame for Trion Cube to vanish without trace, but whether the game will do well enough to get the sequel it needs is another matter. Fun, but hard to recommend.
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