The first release from Hong Kong-based developer Gameeel, Exocubes looks like a Lumines clone at first glance. Sure, it’s got a scanner and a slowly moving wall of blocks you need to cut your way through to survive, but that’s about as close as the similarities come. Exocubes is surprisingly fun and just as easy to jump in and play as many of puzzle gaming’s other classics like Tetris and Bubble Bobble, but items and power-ups that you can use to help maneuver through each level, is what adds a whole other layer of strategy and excitement.
There’s a back story to the game, involving a fellow by the name of Cubert who wakes up in an unknown dimension and needs your help to escape, but it’s not really important. What’s far more important are the actual game play dynamics, as well as how the game looks and sounds.
Exocubes has two different modes of play and upwards of 50 different levels to choose from. Each presents unique challenges and incorporates different sets of items; the further you progress into Exocubes, the more items you’ll have to use at your disposal, including different types of bombs and items that speed up the scanner’s pace.
Like in Lumines, Exocubes gives you a slowly descending wall of blocks and has you keep trying to eliminate them to stay alive. In order to do that, you’ll have to move the blocks into vertical or horizontal rows of at least three blocks of the same color. When the game’s scanner runs through the blocks, they’ll be energized and dropped from the field, creating a hole in the wall. Considering that the scanner weakens through each row of blocks that it passes through and does not create an opening, making these holes in the walls are vital to surviving the level.
The means by which you’ll move the blocks is a simple point-and-click interface. Just click a block, then click one of the boxes next to it horizontally or vertically to switch places. It’s a simple, yet effective game play strategy, and Exocubes makes it work great with the mouse. This is the main method for moving blocks into place and clearing them, but there are other options.