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by David Trammell - May 23, 2002, 12:09 pm EDT

Puzzle King’s quirky new puzzle game is a bit confusing at first, but well worth the effort.

I spent a significant amount of time playing ZooCube yesterday. This was partly because it had a steep learning curve, and partly because it was so much fun. I admit that I didn’t initially look at the training demo; this definitely would have helped a bit. The gameplay consists of manipulating a cube (the ZooCube I suppose) so that the falling puzzle “pieces” end up on one of the six sides in a way that will clear the pieces. Each of the six faces on the cube can have a single piece attached to it, and then you can stack pieces on top of this. If you put more than five pieces on any side you lose. The cube can hold a maximum of thirty pieces (in columns of five each). Matching any two pieces will clear them releasing the animal that was trapped inside. The animals burst out in nicely animated sequences, but not in a way that inhibits your view of the gameplay. The pieces are abstract in appearance, but also based on the appearance of the corresponding animal (such as the skin or claws of the animal). There are dozens of pieces in the game, although the lower levels thankfully restrict you to less than ten at a time. The key to the game is rotating the cube and its individual columns in a way that will put the falling pieces in the best place. The pieces appear around the cube in six different spots (corresponding to each face of the cube), and they are drawn towards the cube. If you hit the A button the piece will fall down to the cube quickly (and will stick with the face it was falling towards even if you rotate at this point). In addition to rotating the cube itself, you can use the face or shoulder buttons to rotate the columns of pieces as well. You can move the top pieces to the bottom or the bottom piece to the top. There are other modes of play as well. Blind mode makes all of the pieces a uniform grey color forcing you to identify matching pieces by shape alone. The other mode gives you a cube that has a predefined set of pieces on it that you must clear.

The game also features many power ups and multiplayer modes including head to had and cooperative modes, but I need to get some more experience with the multiplayer modes before I write about them. Since they’re based on the gameplay of the the single player mode, I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun. Keep an eye out for an update with multiplayer impressions.

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Genre Puzzle
Developer Puzzlekings
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: ZooCube
Release May 05, 2002
jpn: ZooCube
Release Oct 25, 2002
PublisherAcclaim Japan
RatingAll Ages
eu: ZooCube
Release Aug 30, 2002
aus: ZooCube
Release Year 2002

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