Believe it or not, “blocky” used to be a criticism. Back when microchips were puny and developers struggled to make games that didn’t look like garbage, blockiness was a sign of failure.
Nowadays some of the best casual games trade on their charming blockiness, from Crossy Road to Monument Valley to Smashy City. And now you can add Cuby Cars to that list.
This latest game from Djinnworks – a developer that specialises in graphically basic but highly addictive casual titles – is as ingeniously simple as they come.
All you have to do is get a blocky car from the top of the screen to the bottom. In your way are little yellow blocks that just sit there, or patrol up and down, or left and right, or in little orbits over the road.
You hold a finger down on the screen to accelerate, but if your car is accelerating when it comes into contact with a yellow block, it explodes unforgivingly in a shower of miniature cubes.
The collision detection is incredibly strict, so you have to ensure not only that your finger is off the screen but that your car has returned to its rolling pace – or BOOM.
This makes for some unusual action, since the points in a level where you need to use skill and timing are the ones where you have to slow down.
The tension in Cuby Cars comes from watching your car casually dawdle past a yellow block while you frantically eye the stopwatch, desperate to accelerate again. It’s a bit like waiting for somebody at a zebra crossing in the middle of a high speed chase.
As you advance through the stages you earn credits to spend on tuning your car or unlocking new ones. There are six in all, each with its own unique acceleration, speed, and braking characteristics.