Kickle Cubicle is an “action puzzle” game that’s really unlike anything else on the Nintendo Entertainment System to date, with the closest thing perhaps being last year’s Adventures of Lolo. This is a game which lets you play with the environment to solve fun puzzles. Even the enemies become part of the environment when you freeze them into a cube and kick them across the screen, hence, “Kickle Cubicle.” Let’s check this baby out! (♪ Ice ♫ Ice ♩Baby!)!
The gameplay is really something special, despite being incredibly simple. You move in four directions, freeze enemies with cold breath, kick frozen enemies across the screen, and place down “stoppers” to move frozen enemies around the level as needed. The object of each level is to collect a few items which are initially out of reach. This essentially means making a path out of frozen enemies. The puzzle element of the game comes in as you set up a system of (mostly) hammers and springs to move frozen enemies in ways which are otherwise impossible.
This game is really about solving puzzles by playing with the environment. First, there are the enemies, like little blobs, penguins, or clowns, all of which you can freeze, then kick, to make more paths you can step on. There are also roosters in the game that can kick frozen enemies right back at you (which you can use to solve puzzles in the same way that you might use a hammer or a spring), and there’s also cannons which can break the frozen paths that you make.
Second, there are objects like hammers and springs, which you need to thoughtfully arrange before kicking a frozen enemy into them. Many levels come to a successful conclusion after watching a frozen enemy work its way around the level from object to object. It’s much like watching dominoes fall. I would say that this is the defining experience of the game, because I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it in other titles. It’s an action game, and there are boss fights, but this game is about the puzzles.
The graphics are simple. They’re pleasant, but they’re not remarkable. There’s not a great variety of objects in the game (like hammers, springs, and immovable blocks) but they’re sometimes put together to create a playful shape out of the entire level (like a melon, a heart, or a bowl of ice cream). There are cut-scenes where a castle appears before fighting a boss. These are interesting, but there’s nothing groundbreaking about them. I did notice an effect where a large growing vine appeared to wave left and right fluidly like a mirage as it grew towards the sky. I think it was cool, but I still wouldn’t buy this game for the graphics.
I can say the same about the sound: It’s okay. There aren’t many songs in the game, and most of them are for special situations like cut-scenes and boss fights, so you’ll be listening to the same song for 95% of the game. It goes something like this, “♩Doo ♩doo ♭doooo ♭doooo ♭doooo. ♩Doo ♩doo ♭doooo ♭doooo ♭doooo.” The song is a bit longer, actually, but when you’re hearing the same song the whole time, it all seems the same, doesn’t it? Like the game itself, the music is cute, but maybe we’re very kind to say it’s okay, but let’s be kind because this game shouldn’t be overlooked.
Will this game have some lasting appeal? Sure, when you can’t get the music out of your head! Seriously though, I can see Kickle Cubicle having great replay value simply because there’s nothing else like it. Hopefully there can be a sequel on the Super Nintendo (if that’s what Nintendo’s 16-bit mega-machine is to be named in the US)! I’m holding my breath for a sequel now. Let’s do it together! Ready? ( /o*-*o\ ) *AHP!*
Kickle Cubicle Review
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Sound - 5/105/10
- Gameplay - 10/1010/10
- Lasting Appeal - 8/108/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
If you’re looking for a fun and memorable action-puzzler for the NES then Kickle Cubicle is a must-have. Unique gameplay and fun puzzles will keep most people hooked. This game is as cool as a snowman’s carrot in the dead of winter . . . and that’s cool!
Adam “McSNES” Martinez, gaming drop-out and FuncoLand ghost, has spent his entire life training to review games for YOU, the loyal readers of Nintendo Times. Adam is permanently banned from Final Fantasy XI: Online, his favorite game.