Mobile Review: Chemical Cubes
It can be difficult to create a compelling “match-three” game in this day and age, seeing as how there are so many different titles out there that rely on those mechanics. However, Chemical Cubes does an excellent job of crafting a frantic, well-paced experience that ties together well into the “match-three” genre.
The game is fairly straightforward upon initialization — you select your difficulty and commence a playthrough. Once play begins, the cubes mentioned in the title align in continuous columns, scrolling from left to right towards. Depending on the difficulty chosen, you will either have 3, 4, or 5 rows of cubes in each column (3 being the easiest). The objective is to tap on a cube and move it to another cube’s location, with the end goal being that you create columns of the same color.
Combos can be acquired by creating successive columns with the same color, further multiplied by not receiving any “strikes” (which are caused by passing a column that has mixed colors). If you continue to succeed, two new colors will be added over time which exponentially increases the difficulty and truly tests your matching skills.
There are a few things that make Chemical Cubes unique within its mechanics: The first is that you can swap cubes regardless of where they are located on screen; The second is that, upon passing a column without matching colors, the game will slow down long enough to allow the user enough time to recover. If the player receives three “strikes,” the game ends and goes back to the main menu.
Upon completion of each playthrough, you are given a high-score, although you are only competing against yourself. Still, it is enjoyable to see how far you can get.
Chemical Cubes has a simple yet brazen art style, where background colors and particle effects run rampant behind the basic shapes and colors of gameplay objects. This allows the player to more readily understand the action on-screen and focus on moving cubes around efficiently. The design is well executed, although it would be nice to have some “juiciness” when creating combos outside of a text notification and multiplier number.
My favorite part of the game is how the frenetic background track pulses its techno-dub mix while you are busy matching. It contributes to the fun and wild atmosphere that the game creates for the player. The only issue I have with the track is that, well, it’s the only track in the game. At the very least, a different track for Easy, Medium, and Hard would have sufficed.
The game itself plays incredibly well and is simple enough for anyone to understand. However, if your phone has a smaller screen it could be difficult to play on Hard, as the precision required for moving cubes is more difficult to find given how small they become.
This title is great for a quick bit of messing around, if for nothing other than to give your brain a little rattle and listen to a perfectly ridiculous bass track. I would heartily recommend picking up Chemical Cubes and experiencing the cube-matching madness for yourself.
Chemical Cubes on Half Empty Studios’ Website