A game for mobile devices that isn’t totally anti-consumer and is actually really fun and charming? Who would have thought this would be possible?
Suzy Cube, developed by NorthernBytes software and released on ios, android and PC, is a 3D platformer that, you guessed it, is an ode to 3D platformers like the Crash Bandicoot series, the Spyro series and most apparent, Nintendo’s Super Mario franchise.
You play as Suzy, a blocky little person that is intent on going through a total of 44 levels hipping and hopping along, jumping on enemies along the way. Locations will range from pyramids to caverns filled with lava that Suzy must navigate, and thankfully she controls incredibly well, gameplay is almost always energetic and well-paced, and almost all of the deaths I experienced in the game were my fault, thanks to the superb controls.
This game has some awesome graphics with a clean Apple product-esque edge, a smooth, cubic look all with vibrant colors makes for a thing that is really easy on the eyes, and I enjoyed how well it ran and looked.
While this game is very derivative of other 3D platforms, it is a fun game on its own. It bears some really noticeable similarities, particularly to titles such as Super Mario 3D Land. Suzy Cube has all of the basic ideas and the core gameplay loop down. Jump into a level, following the path, getting collectable “stars” along the way, jumping on enemies and things in the environment to collect coins and consume items that make you stronger or more powerful and the end result of collecting all those stars gives you several bonus levels, and all these levels are grouped into different “worlds” where there is a boss waiting at the end of each one for you to beat. At first it bothered me how formulaic the game at its core was, but I quickly started finding enjoyment out of it, originality or not. Each level would get harder and harder, and there would be different obstacles and layouts to keep things diverse.
Suzy Cube has its share of issues, the first one being the camera. The camera angle of this is not controllable, and for the most part I had no problems with it, but there were certain levels that made the camera view especially horrible and awkward. I suppose these were used to make things more challenging, but they ended up being more rage inducing and tedious than anything else. There was plenty of fair challenge in the rest of the game, but these instances were just cheap. You would be running through a level, and in order to not get yourself killed you would have to wait for the camera to catch up to you. It adds challenge but it is cheap and disrupts the flow of the game. Which leads me to my other qualm with the game with the camera problems present there as well, the boss battles.
Every boss battle given is just the same boss fight as the first one, except with a different setting and colors. In one fight, waves of water would be an obstacle, and another the water would be replaced by sand. All of them are the same exact enemy with a different color. It doesn’t help that the camera problem is ever present to make things tedious, and the way of beating each boss is virtually identical. Not much thought was given when I fought each one, and I wanted them to be over each time I faced them.
Overall, being a $5 mobile game, there is really a lot to love in Suzy Cube, and I enjoyed it for most of the time I played it. I also want to recognize that there isn’t any anti-consumer paywall, which is definitely becoming more and more rare in mobile games and videogames in general. For a matter of fact, any anti-consumer practices in this game at all is definitely admirable. Rather than calling it a copy of 3D platformers, I would say it’s a love letter. It isn’t some blatant lazy clone, but it has small issues keeping it from greatness, and at its core it is a fun little game that has made me less cynical about mobile games in general.