Cubic Ninja (Review) Nintendo 3DS

Cubic Ninja (Review) Nintendo 3DS
Review Score:

Cubic Ninja from Ubisoft is an original game that uses the 3DS’ gyroscope technology. As a carbon cube named CC, your mission is to rescue some friends and ultimately rescue a kidnapped princess.  As a puzzle game, the player must tilt the 3DS back, forward, and side-to-side to navigate CC through a series of mazes laden with hazardous obstacles and traps.

Like all puzzle games, the first few levels are fairly simple. The object is to reach the exit at the end of each level, using any means possible. During later levels, puzzles become more complex and require walls to be lowered by pressing buttons.  Some of these buttons are placed above spike traps, requiring precise tilting of the 3DS. The gyroscope technology works fairly well in the free-floating environment of Cubic Ninja. Since the environment plays in zero gravity, the game takes some getting used to.

Cubic Ninja isn’t all about slow-paced puzzle solving. Some levels will have you racing through an opening that is about to close, spike balls and pillars wait at the bottom of pits, and unseen enemies can attack at a moment’s notice.

Additionally, there are boss battles that happen five times throughout CC’s 100-stage adventure. Initially, the boss encounters seem to require fast reflexes, but since CC lacks speed and plods around very slowly, the encounters can cause a very high degree of frustration. However, Cubic Ninja is a game of intellect, and the best way to defeat a boss is to anticipate every move.

Even though the game difficulty can be frustrating, CC is awarded special abilities to help aid him during his travels. These abilities can only be activated when a certain number of scrolls are collected. The first ability shrinks CC so he can pass through small openings, avoid traps, and exit certain levels. The second presses all the switches in the level, sparing CC the hassle of switching them on himself. The third is a projectile that resembles a shuriken; it shoots in all directions to eliminate enemies. The fourth, and last, ability is a shield. The shield protects CC for a certain amount of hits before depleting. These abilities cannot be used consecutively, so use them wisely.

The tilt controls are a bit sensitive and will sometimes cause CC to travel in the wrong direction. Moreover, there are times when you have to tilt the 3DS’ screen out of view to move CC against a wall. Unfortunately, moving forward causes a similar issue. An option to adjust tilt sensitivity would have been a welcome addition.

Graphically, CN doesn’t take full advantage of the 3DS’ capabilities. Despite using crude looking polygons, the actual environments appear flat and do not utilize the 3DS’ true 3D screen capabilities. This is a bit disappointing; a game like CN could easily benefit from the 3D screen technology. In fact, it would eliminate half of the environmental issues encountered during gameplay, where certain walls seem to blend together.

As a game, Cubic Ninja stands out as a unique experience. The graphics may not be as impressive as prior 3DS titles, but what it lacks in graphics, it makes up for in gameplay. Aside from the awkward controls, Cubic Ninja is still worth checking out. It offers enough challenge to keep any puzzle fan satisfied.

Mike Pittaro
Nintendo 3DS
Developer: AQ Interactive
Publisher: Ubisoft
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Price: $29.99

Ubisoft’s Website

Review Score
Cubic Ninja's graphics - while not bad - are pretty basic and lack detail.
Fairly standard for a puzzle game.
Despite the tilt sensitivity issue, Cubic Ninja is a fun experience.
Gamers looking for a good puzzle game should give Cubic Ninja a try.
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