IQ Intelligent Qube – Review (ish)

IQ: Intelligent Qube is a Playstation 1 puzzle game from 1997, making it 25 years old. That’s a little insane to think about, especially since I remember playing a demo for this game at some point around then. I also remember not really understanding what to do in the game and giving up on it fairly quick. It would then always shock me when I heard people talking about how good this game is and that it’s a bit of a classic. With that all in mind, it’s nice that this is one of the first games Sony added to their PS Plus Premium tier. I especially like that it has trophy support since we all need more ways to feed that addiction.

I booted this game up and skipped the tutorial section and instantly had no fucking clue of what to do. I kept getting run over by the rotating blocks as they slowly marched towards my little polygonol character. Instead, I hopped on YouTube and thumbed through a quick tutorial just to get the gist of the game. I was now prepared to dominate this game.

The game consists of three colored blocks, black, grey, and green. They slowly rotate in unison down the stage until falling off the edge. Your goal is to mark blocks for deletion, trying to clear all the grey blocks before they fall off. Take out a green and that spot gets marked, activate that mark and you clear all surrounding blocks. The trick is to leave all the black blocks intact, that’s where the skill lies. You’re allowed to mess up a few times, but like with any good puzzle game, it’s more rewarding and challenging to perfect each stage.

With just a little bit of knowledge of the mechanics of this puzzle game, I was quickly able to plow through the whole thing in just over an hour, getting every single trophy and earning that coveted platinum. I feel like that’s what makes a good puzzle game, being able to pick it up with the core concepts of how it works and use those to take down some puzzles.

What trivialized the game to me was the ability to use the rewind feature of the classic emulation on the PS5. Any mistakes I made were quickly rectified through a quick rewind of the game. Don’t wait to die and restart the level, just go back a few seconds and make that critical move. It was a great tool in helping me tear through a classic game in record time while getting the platinum.

I feel like that is the more interesting topic in this whole subscription service and these classic games. You provide tools that allow you to quickly put down certain games. The only thing I feel like I may miss is a fast forward feature like the modern remakes of the old Final Fantasy games have. So if you want, you can get a taste of what these classic games have to offer. You don’t have to really spend much time with them and you can beat them fairly easily. Is it the experience the developers originally wanted players to have? Not in the least, but is that okay with you?

The game controls like an old PS1 game trying to get to grips with 3D. Directional movement isn’t smooth, when the camera moves and your character is trying to do precise movement, directionality tends to get locked up (think Resident Evil controls when the camera moves). The character you control will sometimes just not move where you think he should. It could definitely be frustrating if you didn’t have the rewind function. With it I found I’d just rewind and try again without getting upset, so that feature ended up being a positive to the game design.

Final Score – 7

In the end, I’m happy for this game to be in the PS Premium tier with trophies. I am actually happy that I got to play all the way through it and have a platinum trophy to show for it. It feels like a small part of my gaming history has come to a close.

Picross S4 – Review

Another year, another version of Picross on the Nintendo Switch. I’m really slacking this year though, the new game is already out and I literally just finished this one.

It’s so odd trying to review a Picross game. If you’re looking to play this game, play the first three games first and then this one. If for no other reason than having saves for the others unlock special large puzzles for each season you have.

This was not the most difficult of the seasons of Picross I’ve played. Granted, I am getting really good at Picross and can play it in my sleep. I’m the type of player that will immediately turn off all assist features, I wont count a puzzle complete unless it’s finished this way and I will not cheat to figure out if even just one block is correct. I try to make it as hard as possible for myself since I want the challenge.

While I said it’s not the hardest, one puzzle did take me the longest I’ve ever spent on a picross puzzle, which is the Mega Picross puzzle M127, it took me 1 hour and 29 minutes 40 seconds. So almost 90 minutes to beat that puzzle. Just so it’s out there, I also only suspend a puzzle, I will not completely restart it. I want to make sure that the timmer is accurate. If I mess up or think something is wrong, I will clear out a section, or the whole board, and continue on with my original timmer. It’s also nice to see that the game has a clock on it that shows the complete playtime, don’t remember that ever being a thing. My time, if anyone was wondering, is 45:55:28. That’s completing every puzzle, including the Mega, Color, Clip, and all Extra puzzles. That’s some damn good value for a 10 dollar game.

If you don’t know what picross is, this review isn’t for you. I’m not going to teach you how to play, the game comes with a tutorial that can teach you all the basics. I’ll just urge you to not cancel out of any of your games, just manually erase anything you did and if you’re frustrated, suspend them and come back later.

I like that this game came with massive 40×30 puzzles as an extra. It’s a different style of challenge from the normal picross style puzzles that complement the color versions as a nice dessert to the main game. While not necessarily super challenging, they force you to look at the board in a slightly different way that would be hard to explain to someone who doesn’t play a lot of Picross.

Final Score – 8.8

A great game of Picross. I’d love if they could do more themed versions of this game, kind of like the Kemono Friends one.

Kemono Friends Picross – Review

Anyone else out there hankering for some more Picross in their lives? A few months ago I decided to look on my Switch for another Picross game to play through and came across this one when I looked up the developer on the Switch store. To my surprise there was a new game, along with the previous three seasons of the classic game, so I snapped it up really quick.

Now, if you’re already acquainted with Picross (I’m definitely not going into how it works here) then this is a good place to find some puzzles. I felt like they weren’t too hard, I didn’t really struggle with any of them, even the higher level ones. My Picross addiction runs deep and I didn’t really care.

Oh, and if you play Picross correctly, before even starting the first puzzle, you need to disable all assists. Then when you start a puzzle you are not allowed to restart it, you can erase all the blocks and start over, but under no circumstances are you to quite, stop the timer, and restart it. I will allow you to suspend the puzzle and work on another, that is perfectly fine. These are all my rules that I have when playing with. This is a puzzle game that I really enjoy playing and I only get a certain amount of it each year, I want it to be as challenging as possible.

I have started up the new Picross S4 on my Switch that came out recently but I’ll talk about that when I wrap it up. I did like the different take on the art for the puzzles in this game. Each puzzle has something to do with these little cartoon/anime girls called Kemono friends. I have no clue what it’s all about, I just assume it’s some Japanese type of collectible girl thing. Only because there are so many different girls that you have to solve the puzzle for. No clue, but it was fun and I liked the art style and presentation of the game.

In the end, it’s Picross. Feed your addiction just like I did. Turn off all the help. Just wish it was a bit harder, and with most Picross games, I wish it had a whole section of large puzzles and not just a select few towards the end of each section.