First Impressions – D-Cube Planet
D-Cube Planet is the first mini from Indian studio GameShastra, which is apparently in the process of developing over 30 games for the PSP, so we can expect to hear a lot more from them in future.
As far as initial impressions are concerned, the presentation seems pretty basic. Much of the text used in the game has been poorly localised, which lends a slightly unfinished look to the launch screen and the tutorial in particular. However, once you start playing, the gameplay actually appears to be pretty solid.
What we have here is basically an old-school block-moving puzzler. They may look simple and easy to make, but getting the difficulty curve just right can be hard to pull off, and it seems like GameShastra has done a good job on their first attempt.
The story centres around a hapless alien from the planet Lilliput who has crash-landed on D-Cube Planet on his way to earth. It’s your job to help him retrieve the scattered parts of his smashed spaceship. Hopefully he won’t then go on to invade earth as that would be sheer ingratitude.
You move the alien by placing the cursor over him using either the directional buttons or the analog stick. To select him, press X, then use the directional buttons or analog stick to move him around.
Separating our little green friend and his next ship part are a number of d-cubes. Sometimes there will also be an immoveable grey block in the way. You can move the cubes in the direction indicated by their colour-coded arrows provided there’s a space to move them into; adjacent cubes can be moved together at the same time, which only counts as one move.
There are only a certain number of moves that you are allowed to make in order to reach the ship part. These are counted down in the left-hand corner of the screen, and this is where you really have to start thinking strategically and planning a few moves ahead. It’s the real heart of the gameplay, you might say.
On first look, D-Cube Planet seems challenging and absorbing. I managed to work my way through a lot of levels and really enjoyed the mental work-out. It would be nice to think that there’s a change of scenery every once in a while but that’s only something that further gameplay will reveal. We’ll bring the full review to you shortly.