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Cubism review: beautiful 3D puzzler now with mixed reality mode

Cubism review: beautiful 3D puzzler now with mixed reality mode
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January 7, 2021:

Cubism developer Thomas van Bouwel has released a quest update that adds a mixed reality mode to the game.

More information can be found under Updates.

3D puzzles, relaxation and virtual reality: Cubism proves that these three things complement each other perfectly. Read my review to find out what makes this VR puzzle game special.

Cubism is easy to explain: You pick up different colored 3D puzzle pieces and put them together to form a predefined shape, which appears as a transparent template. Stones and shape float weightlessly in front of the user, can be picked up with the controllers, viewed from all sides and freely placed in weightless space.

As the level of difficulty increases, so does the number of components and the size and complexity of the target shape. Once you have assembled the first shapes in a few seconds, later, more complicated shapes will quickly make your head spin. With a total of 60 3D puzzles, VR players should be busy for several hours.

Cubism: Review in a nutshell

Cubism is a superbly designed 3D puzzle game with a meditative effect that offers many hours of puzzle fun for little money and can be played with or without a VR controller.

Cubism will appeal to you if you …

  • love puzzles that require spatial awareness,
  • want to switch off and relax in virtual reality, and
  • want to experience the magic of hand tracking.

Cubism will not appeal to you if you …

  • are looking for puzzle-variety,
  • don’t have the patience for challenging puzzles and
  • can’t stand minimalistic graphic design.

An exquisite VR design study

Cubism is inspired by games like the Soma and Bedlam cubes, which are to some extent perfected by virtual reality: Since the puzzle pieces are not subject to gravity, they are thus particularly easy to put together or take apart.

The fact that this is effortless is thanks to the excellent VR implementation because Cubism is a masterpiece of VR design: from the manual interaction with objects to their simulated collisions with each other to the design of the interface and menus. Everything in Cubism feels wonderfully natural, intuitive, and somehow “right”.

Cubism_VR_Menü

From A to Z of simple beauty. | Image: Thomas Van Bouwel

Relaxation for body and mind

VR glasses shield users from their environment. This circumstance is an advantage when you want to take a break from the world and unwind in between. Cubism is made for this kind of escape from reality and balm for the soul.

If you own an Oculus Quest, you get a huge set of 3D puzzles with Cubism and can take a relaxing break from everyday reality anytime, anywhere. Since the puzzle pieces and shapes can be moved around freely, Cubism plays great in comfortable postures. The only requirement is that you can move your hands freely.

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Simple and beautiful

The graphics are deliberately kept as minimalistic as possible: you sit in a contourless room, either light or dark, and only have the bricks and target shape in front of you, which has an immensely calming effect. Additionally, well-known piano melodies sound in the background.

Their disadvantage is that they quickly repeat themselves. If you want, you can deactivate the music and let it play over your own sound system. However, it would be even better if you could import MP3s. Developer Thomas Van Bouwel liked this idea and added it to his list of desired features.

Cubism_VR_3D_Puzzle

Later on, Cubism becomes quite sophisticated. | Image: Thomas Van Bouwel

Conclusion: A VR oasis of tranquility

Weightless, elegant and timelessly beautiful: that’s Cubism. If you like 3D puzzle games, are looking for a perfect in-between everyday escape and prefer playing while sitting, you will be happy with Cubism. The scope and graphics are also right, so there’s not much to criticize about Cubism.

It could only get boring for those who find the comparatively simple puzzle mechanics monotonous after a while.

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Cubism will be released on September 17 in the Oculus Store for Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift (S) as well as on Steam for PC VR glasses. The Oculus version supports cross-buy.

Updates:

Hand tracking support

Developer Thomas Van Bouwel delivers an excellently implemented optical hand tracking half a year after release. The feature noticeably enhances Cubism.

30 new puzzles

To mark the one-year anniversary of the launch, a free update is released that adds a second campaign with 30 new 3D puzzles to the VR game.

To gain access to the new content, you must solve at least 30 puzzles from the first campaign. The update will be released for all platforms for which Cubism is available.

Passthrough mode

Thanks to the passthrough update, you can now play Cubism in the mixed reality mode of Meta Quest (2). This way you are always aware of your surroundings and can relax and drink tea without the risk of spilling anything.

I briefly tried out the passthrough mode and am thrilled. The brightness and contrast of the video image can be adjusted, and you can also virtually highlight your hands. The two videos below show how the VR game looks in mixed reality mode.

You can buy Cubism here:

Supported devices Platform Price
Oculus Quest (2) Quest Store 9,99 Euro
Oculus Rift (S) Rift Store 9,99 Euro
PC VR Glasses Steam 9,99 Euro