VR Tetris on acid.
There are certain titles that are considered videogame royalty. Pinnacles of design that have been copied, or inspired countless variations over the years. One of which is Tetris. This is a videogame most gamers should know about, an iconic puzzler that you could spend hours on without getting bored. For virtual reality (VR) fans looking for some of that classic gameplay action but with a modern twist there’s SUPERHYPERCUBE from Kokoromi, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.
SUPERHYPERCUBE is a head-on puzzler in all regards, not only in difficulty but also in gameplay. As the name insinuates, you have a cube which continuously travels straight forward towards a wall which has a shape notched out in it. To begin with this is just a singular cube with a square hole to pass through. As each wall passes additional cubes are then added to the first, changing its size and shape. Correspondingly the hole in the wall will change shape and it’s up to you to alter the cube so it can pass unhindered.
To do this you have various controls located on each of the HTC Vive’s touchpads and triggers. One of the controllers – depending on your preferred hand – has the main functions for rotating and twisting the mass of cubes while the other touchpad activates special abilities. Of which there are three on offer; Boost, Time Warp and Smash. Boost speeds up the cube’s momentum when you know you’ve got it lined up perfectly but it also has a couple of other strategic functions. It gains you more points for each completed wall, and more importantly helps charge up the other two abilities. Time Warp is a bullet-time effect, slowing things down to give you more time to figure out the proper alignment. Smash does exactly what it says, smashing through a wall that you can’t figure out. As mentioned, these two latter abilities need time to charge so you can’t use them indiscriminately, also the Time-warp charges first before moving onto Smash, so using it means you’ll have to wait for it to recharge before Smash becomes available.
While it can be played sat down, due to the way SUPERHYPERCUBE works you’ll still need to move around somewhat. As the cube grows ever larger it begins to obscure your vision of the incoming wall and the shape you need to match. So you’ll need to look under, over and round it to make sure the mass of cubes are lined up. It’s a good use of VR roomscale and certainly adds further tension as the wall nears.
The entire dynamic of SUPERHYPERCUBE requires patience and thought. You can’t just go rushing into each level – especially the later stages – or you’ll find yourself crashing into walls continuously. And here’s the hook, just like arcade videogames of old there’s no hand holding, get a couple of walls wrong and it is game over – a rare sight nowadays. Then you’ll be back at square one. There are no check points that VRFocus noticed, just 10 levels and 100 walls to complete in one perfect run.
Naturally at some point SUPERHYPERCUBE will test those frustration levels as you near your previous best only to come undone at the last moment. But this is where this type of experience gets you, just like Tetris SUPERHYPERCUBE has an addictive quality all of its own, it’s simple to play and you always want one more go.
If there’s a downside then it’s to do with the controls. The trigger spins work fine but on occasion the touchpad rotations don’t always feel as quick and instantaneous as they should or need to be. Playing SUPERHYPERCUBE using a gamepad with actual buttons would probably feel smoother and more accurate, however Kokoromi only lists the motion controllers and keyboard/mouse as supported inputs devices.
All in all though, is this a worthy port from PlayStation VR? It certainly is. SUPERHYPERCUBE seems like the love child between Rez Infinite and Tetris, psychedelic, neon rich visuals with a puzzle mechanic that’s difficult to put down. If you’re after something that little bit different for your HTC Vive this holiday season, take a look at SUPERHYPERCUBE.