Trioncube Review

We’ve seen a lot of good puzzle games come out on the DS, and we’ve seen a lot of bad. Namco’s latest, Trioncube, was a game many of us were looking forward to. Coined a "puzzle game with a plot," the game looked like it may just be the next sleeper hit on the DS. Well, guess we were wrong.

Trioncube does have a plot, and that’s really its only strong point. There must be some agreement between game developers for the DS, because like a few other recent titles the plot makes almost no sense at all, and you’ll find yourself looking at the animation and scratching your head. At first, it seems simple enough — generic "bad guy captures the princess" story. To get her back, you’ll need to fly after the villain — Hellmetal — in your spaceship, named Penko. But Penko is no ordinary spaceship — Penko is a ship shaped like a giant penguin. That’s right, not only is it a flying penguin, it’s a flying space penguin. How cool is that!

That’s where things start to go downhill. You see, the basic gameplay in Trioncube…well, it’s ridiculously simple. The key concept of the game is to form 3×3 grids using the trioncubes, which give your ship a boost. Once you form a grid, you can drop pieces into place to keep adding to the block, and until you mess up and fail to create a new 3×3 grid the combo will keep going. No matter how far you progress in the game, though, it’s really not that hard to keep forming a grid until you have no more room on the screen. And it’s almost impossible to lose (I don’t even think anyone knows what the losing screen looks like).

The arcade mode features eight levels, and you can easily get through that playing only during the commercial breaks of an episode of Heroes. (Go ahead, try.) The story mode is slightly longer with 45 missions, but they’re easy throughout; the last missions are almost as simple as the first.

Other than the story, there is one thing Namco did well in the game, and that’s the unlockables. You can unlock different effects (for when you clear a grid) and art for the background of the screen, giving you some choice when it comes to what the game looks like. Sadly, it takes a while to unlock these, and you most likely won’t keep playing long enough to get all 50 effects. It would be an incredible addition to an already solid puzzle game, but in a game where it’s a chore to keep playing due to the simplicity and lack of real depth, it’s too little, too late.

For people who don’t play games, or for the very young crowed, Trioncube may be a worthwhile title to own. If you play video games often (or even consider yourself a casual gamer), the game is just too easy. The lack of difficulty scaling as you compete ruins any long-term play sessions, as you’ll get to a point where you’ll basically never lose again. I give Namco a lot of credit for trying to establish a new idea in the puzzle genre, but Trioncube has a few glaring issues that keep it from being a good game. If they could somehow make the game more difficult, or throw in some other challenges throughout the gameplay it may be a title worth looking at. For now, though, there are far better choices out there to satiate your puzzling desires.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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