August 18, 2016

God is a Cube - Greenlight Alpha

Tags: A Gamedev Plays

This post is from the now defunct website “A GameDev Plays…”, copied here for posterity

God is a Cube recently hit Steam Greenlight and was quickly greenlit. The game deserves this success, there is already an enjoyable alpha nicely showing off this promising programming puzzler. The developer recently put out a call for Let’s Players, so I decided to give it a go…

The full God is a Cube YouTube Playlist available here

In God is a Cube the player controls a cube as it moves around a small map in order to reach the exit. This control is not direct, instead the player “programs” the cube by providing a set of instructions depicted as icons. These icons include commands such as “move forward”, “turn right” as well as a “if-then-else” branching system and conditional modifiers. These icons are chained together and then the resulting program run to make the cube do as you wish, or just as often, do something not quite right. There are the standard controls: play the program; stop the program; fast forward; and the very handy, step through the program one instruction/icon at a time.

The game currently contains 50 puzzles, most which of introduce and teach the concepts of the icon-based programs. After an hour I have reached a bit over half way through and have rarely felt lost as to how to progress. All the puzzles are just a matter of moving the cube around static obstacles to the exit point - harder challenges are yet to emerge. There are many hints provided on how to assemble the correct program, from a “waifu” offering advice to the availability of icons and the shape of the resulting program. I’m fairly confident that most people could quickly learn and solve the puzzles on offer.

Plan done, now to move

In its current state I would suggest the game is too easy and too slow in ramping up the difficulty. Perhaps as a professional programmer I am an unfair comparison, but there is little to puzzle me in this puzzle game. However, this is still an alpha! There are expected to be rough edges (literally in the case of the jagged graphics in the game). The point is to test the core gameplay mechanism. Then work on extra features, polish and balance as the proper release nears. On that basis, God is a Cube is a great success. The core mechanic makes programming fun and has potential for possible puzzles in the future. Given statements and videos by the developer, I have confidence that if they keep going the game will only get better and more challenging.

God is a Cube can be downloaded for free from here. This review is for version 00_05_14_00 from 31st July 2016. While playing please provide feedback using the in-game system (at the end of each level), this will help the developer make a better game.

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