Review: The Last Cube (Nintendo Switch)
Well, here we are, and we’ve got no one but ourselves to blame. Despite all the advanced warnings, we’re down to the last cube. After this one’s gone, it’s nothing but cones and cylinders for the rest of our days.
But this cube is not going gently into that good night. Refusing to simply roll into oblivion, The Last Cube will use all of its abilities to navigate a stark, seemingly lifeless world that presents plenty of obstacles, but is simultaneously conducive to cube exploration.
Your goal is to roll your cube from point A to point B, unlocking the proper path. The traversable grids are mostly small and well contained, but there’s plenty to do along the way.
The basic premise of the puzzles is centered around stickers. There are gateways to unlock, and you need to stamp them with the right sticker to progress. This requires rolling over a sticker to obtain it, then rolling the cube in such a way that the face with the sticker falls onto the lock. It’s a clever puzzle system that forces you to think a few moves ahead.
The challenge is increased by the well-placed hazards along the way. Some will erase your stickers, forcing you to roll back to their origin point to pick up another. Some will completely reset your cube.
Thankfully, the cube has abilities of its own; you’re not always stuck with simply rolling around. In certain instances, you can rotate the cube without moving it forward, allowing you to properly place your sticker. Likewise, you can slide forward without rolling. Later abilities allow you to alter the environment a bit to reach your goal. The Last Cube effectively introduces new elements as the game continues. This helps keep the puzzles fresh while slowly increasing the difficulty.
The difficulty, of course, will be a factor here. That’s the very point of puzzle games, right? Simply moving from level to level is challenging, but never unfair. I found that trial-and-error (and occasional use of the built-in hint system) was enough to get me through without giving up in frustration. Most of the blockages I faced were (embarrassingly) caused by my failure to use the cube’s capabilities. As such, casual puzzle gamers will be able to enjoy the game…until they approach the later levels, anyway.
This doesn’t mean The Last Cube will take too long to appeal to hard-core puzzle solvers. The developers have interspersed some very difficult “challenge” levels that will definitely fire the synapsis of reward-seekers. They’ve also scattered relics around the standard levels. You’ll miss out on some of the game’s lore if you don’t retrieve them, but that’s about it. Completionists, have at it.
The Last Cube is also helped by its stark visuals. They’re simultaneously lonely and inviting, combining (mostly) lifeless backgrounds with neon colors that provide a pulse of energy. I think I’m professionally obligated to include a Tron reference here, so consider that requirement met.
If the soundtrack had been composed by Wendy Carlos or Daft Punk, it certainly would’ve fit. But the actual soundtrack fits just fine, creating a chill but decidedly melancholy vibe.
I expect a lot of gamers will see these screen captures and immediately know this game is not for them. That’s fair, because there’s decidedly little to do here beyond what’s immediately presented. But if you’re intrigued by intricate logic puzzles—if you find that type of challenge relaxing—then The Last Cube will provide what you’re after.
And if this really is the last cube, don’t you think it’s important to be there with it at the end?