App of the week: Suzy Cube review
She’s a bit of a square, but Suzy Cube has what it takes when it comes to top-notch 3D platforming on your phone
The dastardly Skulls have stolen all the gold from Castle Cubetron. The scoundrels! Presumably said gold was used to pay for the army, given that the royal family’s cunning bling retrieval plan is to send the titular Suzy Cube into action. Fortunately, she has a spring in her step, special hats, and a penchant for duffing up evil-doers by jumping on their heads.
If you’re thinking “that sounds an awful lot like the set-up for a platform game”, you’re not wrong. Suzy Cube is another title that aims to bring leapy jump larks to devices with a slippy pane of glass as a control surface rather than joypads and buttons – and this time with the added complication of being in 3D.
Square peg, round hole
Despite the sizeable number of decent platform games on mobile, I still approach new ones with trepidation. For every Oddmar there’s a slice of gaming hellspawn that hasn’t come to terms with thumbs not reacting like lighting when pawing at glass, and gaming sessions on mobile varying wildly between odd moments bored in a queue and hours slumped at home, being eaten by a sofa.
Fortunately, Suzy Cube tends towards the former. It splits the screen in half to create a massive joypad – left thumb to move and right to jump. It keeps shaking things up with new locations, ideas and mechanics. And it shifts away from commonplace retro-infused 2D action to give you something with an added dimension.
Suzy Cube still isn’t a free-roaming platformer – a good thing, because you don’t flounder around, staggering about like a drunk. Instead, it echoes the likes of Super Mario 3D Land, with a fixed camera that shifts perspective depending on the needs of the game. You might bound around in isometric for a bit, then sprint along the sides of a tower in side-on 2D, before ending up with a vertigo-inducing top-down view as you jump between levitating platforms, knowing a mis-step will mean plummeting to your doom.
The sense of focus this affords keeps Suzy Cube tight throughout, even if the camera sometimes feels a bit too zoomed in to properly plan jumps or survive unscathed when some nutcase is lobbing bombs and missiles at you from off-screen. Still, this does at least force you to take care rather than blunder ahead, and also to properly learn level layouts and commit them to memory.
It’s got edge(s)
Such exploration is rewarded with power-up hats (double-jump glide on holding the screen, or head-smashing with a helmet), locating stars that unlock new levels, and grabbing all that stolen bling, which replenishes your lives counter. And the journey is mostly exciting, varied and fun.
There is the occasional mis-step – dull boss battles; the odd level that feels that bit too long. But mostly, you’ll find Suzy Cube an authentically console-like 3D platformer, whether you’re bounding about geometric meadows, skidding down snowy hills, or escaping death by the skin of your teeth while deep within the superb pyramid levels that alone would have made for a cracking mobile adventure.
Suzy Cube is available for Android and iOS. It has also been released on Steam for PC and Mac.
Flawed but fun, Suzy Cube successfully brings a dash of 3D console-style platforming to your phone
Varied level mechanics and feel
Rewards repeat play
Mostly feels great on mobile…
… but the controls sometimes fail you
Boss battles are terrible
Camera feels too zoomed in