As a kid who grew up in the late '80s and early '90s, platformers have played a big part in my gaming life. I would spend hours just sitting down on the floor playing Super Mario Bros. on my old Nintendo systems. It's a classic that many of us grew up on, and has inspired many other games in the years to come.
I've gone through a lot of mobile games, and as much as I love platformers, I frequently find it's hard to get them right on mobile due to controls. Of course, there are a few exceptions, such as the Mikey Shorts games, but more often than not, I'm not satisfied because of some flaw.
Suzy Cube is different, though. The game has been in development for several years, but the end result proves that some things are worth waiting for. This is a charming little 3D platformer that anyone can fall in love with, and we're going to take a look at why.
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Story and setting
If you've played any Mario game in your life, then you'll feel right at home with Suzy Cube.
The story of Suzy Cube is pretty simple and straightforward. The Skulls, clearly labeled as the antagonists, have stolen all of the gold from Castle Cubeton. And somehow, only Suzy Cube is able to stop them and restore all of the stolen goods to their rightful owners. The animated cutscenes reveal the story well, and it's entertaining to watch.
The world of Suzy Cube is bright and vivid, so it should bring a smile to anyone's face even after a long day. The colorful world of Suzy and Castle Cubeton harkens me back to the days of my childhood since it looks and feels so much like classic Mario games.
Suzy Cube herself is a rather ambiguous character that starts out rather basic, but you can customize her appearance eventually with various hats. The enemies you'll encounter are also rather cute and cuddly, even though that's the opposite effect they're going for I'm sure.
Overall, if you appreciate endearing characters despite minimum plot, Suzy Cube is rather satisfying.
Gameplay and controls
Suzy Cube is a 3D platformer game that's designed for speedruns, so there's a lot of replay value here. The main goal of the game is easy: get Suzy to the end point on each stage while collecting gold coins and getting rid of the baddies along the way. You'll also find some boss battles to get through as well.
I mean honestly, if you've played platformer games before, then you're already familiar with the objective of Suzy Cube. The more coins you collect, the better your score ends up, and there are plenty of opportunities to collect more lives since you only start out with so many.
Pulling some inspiration from Super Mario Odyssey, Suzy can find various hats in gift boxes or even enemy drops. When she finds these hats, she equips them right away, and they can grant her unique abilities.
For example, in the third level, you're able to find a hat that allows her to double jump and hover for a few seconds before falling, allowing her to get into hard-to-reach places. If you get a duplicate hat, the game replaces the hat with coins.
The controls in the game work okay, but there could definitely be some improvement. First and foremost, there are no joysticks or buttons visible on the screen. While the good thing about this is the fact that there's nothing obstructing your view, the touch zones end up feeling vague and annoying at times. Still, they're doable with some patience.
In order to move Suzy, you'll need to move your thumb around in the bottom left half of the screen. Tapping the bottom right half makes her jump. When it comes to moving, Suzy starts out a bit slow, but eventually picks up into a sprint after a bit. This is useful, but with the lack of a joystick, movement overall feels cumbersome.
Another thing that I noticed was the camera angles. While the camera intuitively moves around corners when necessary, it does take some time to get used to. In the beginning, I found it a bit jarring when the camera moved to around the corners or top down, but it feels okay after a while.
However, due to the perspective with the 3D, I did find it hard to time my jumps when I was trying to get rid of some enemies. Sometimes my miscalculated jumps ended up in me falling off the stage or getting hurt by adorable foes, so it definitely affects gameplay.
Visual and audio design
Despite some flaws in the control scheme and gameplay, I found the visual and audio design of Suzy Cube to be superb.
As mentioned earlier, Suzy Cube's rendered completely in 3D, with a camera that follows you as you go. And while it's in 3D, the rounded corners and edges that you see give the game a much more family-friendly vibe to it, so everyone's able to enjoy this one.
There are all sorts of different environments in the game as well, from lush greens to frozen tundra areas, and each one's as incredibly detailed as it should be. If you're a purveyor of the cute and cuddly, Suzy's design, along with the endearing baddies, are fun to look at.
Another great thing about Suzy Cube's design is the music. The soundtrack is whimsical and quirky, adding another layer of charm to the game. The sound effects are reminiscent of Mario games too, so it's like a throwback to the good old days for me.
Overall, while there are definitely some flaws with the controls and some parts of the gameplay, I'm enjoying Suzy Cube. The graphics are downright delightful to behold on Retina screens, and the sound is excellent. Plus there are too many nostalgic inspirations to keep me away from picking this one up when I have some spare time.
However, be warned as the controls do make the game a bit frustrating at times, but that just gives you more reason to keep at it.
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.