Cubism is a VR puzzle game that makes great use of the virtual dimension and that will surely challenge your spatial awareness. It starts off simple enough, but you’ll soon find yourself spending more and more time on each puzzle and that final “aha!” moment will be worth every frowned brow.
The concept is simple enough: you get a hollow shape and few coloured blocks to help fill it in. You grab and rotate the blocks and slot them into what you think is the logical place for it, but you’ll usually end up with an empty space remaining or a portruding segment, making you rethink your entire strategy.
Grasping the controls is only a matter of seconds and it also helps immensely that you can make full use of the virtual space to get a closer look. You can either walk around the puzzle or rotate it however you want, making this a perfect game for both standing as well as seated players.
With the simple control scheme and the Quest 2 supporting hand tracking, you’d expect the game to support it but that is not yet the case. I did speak to the developer and there should be an update at some point that will introduce this. (The main reason I’d appreciate it is increased portability, it would be great to only have to carry the headset around and not the controllers)
Here’s a little tip that increased my enjoyment twofold: If you’re so inclined, you can play Cubism together, just like a jigsaw puzzle and cast what you’re seeing in VR to another screen, so other players can give advice (or inevitably demand to get the headset so they can do a better job at it themselves)
If you watched the short video above, then you’ll immediately notice the soothing sound effects. Cubism oozes zen vibes with soft piano strings and satisfying clicking sounds. You’ll never feel pressured because there is no timer or anything else forcing you to progress by any arbitrary rules. How you play is up to you.
This is really the type of game you can take your time with and I’d advise you not to binge on the 60 puzzles, but instead solve a few each day as you give your brain a little workout.
The difficulties vary from Easy to Master and while you’ll solve most of the easy ones in under a minute, you can easily spend upwards of an hour on the most difficult puzzles the game has to offer.
While I get that the solo-developer wanted to opt for a learning curve, I usually don’t like it when certain levels are locked behind progression. Sure, if you get stuck at the earlier puzzles, you probably don’t even stand a sliver of a chance at the later ones, but it’s always nice to be able to skip ahead and see what’s in store in the future, even if it’s just to make the first puzzles seem easier again in comparisson.
Which brings me to a feature I would have really appreciated: there is nothing resembling a hint function. It would have been nice to have a single-use “put one of the blocks into place” panic button so you could continue building from there. Instead, I relied on a poster the developer shared on social media, which I used as a guide to confirm or deny that I was on the right track.
The simple presentation is effective and the pastel colours with their soft tones just have an oddly calming effect. There is just something to the entire package that makes me feel at ease.
If you want, you can also play the game in darkmode, which is easier on the eyes in the evening, but I still preferred the visual appeal of the default setting.
Cubism is a zen VR puzzling experience that is easy to get into yet that will tickle your grey matter in interesting ways. It doesn’t have much of a replay value, but the 60 puzzles are well worth the low investment. A must-play for every Quest owner!
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on Oculus Quest 2. Review copy provided by the developer.