Suzy Cube – Miniview
I’m a huge fan of 3D Platformers, and I’m glad to see them making a return in the past few years. Both Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon have been released from their grave, and indie developers have also noticed the desire for more games in this genre. It’s almost like they can read my mind, because I’m also always on the look for new ones. I discovered this little indie game called Suzy Cube through one of Steam’s new features: the Deep Dive. Put a game that you enjoy, and the automatic AI will allow you to dive deeper to find games from a similar genre or that have been recommended by people who enjoyed the game you’re diving with. I have discovered several new games through this- and other features, and today’s game is one of them!
That said, without spoiling the review… Suzy Cube isn’t really a game that I can speak much about. Therefore, today is also my first attempt at something new: a Miniview! It’s still a review, but just far shorter than my usual ones while still giving you all the required knowledge about the game. Also, before I continue: yes, I am aware that Suzy Cube is a game that originated on mobile, but I still want to treat it as a Steam game.
I’m starting off this review immediately by saying that Suzy Cube has a very clear inspiration, being not just any 3D Platformer- or Super Mario game, but Super Mario 3D Land. I don’t really like to compare one game to another since I want to review a game standing on its own, but this is basically an Indie Lite version of that game in a different coat. I personally don’t really have an issue with that though, since this gives more people the chance to play a game of this formula. Nintendo games aren’t accessible on platforms not from Nintendo after all. I noticed this inspiration right from the first level, as it was a linear 3D stage with a fixed camera angle that had 3 collectable stars, with every stage being on a straight line in the HUB world. Oh, and every world ends with photographs. Real subtle there huh.
Our main protagonist Suzy isn’t as versatile as other platforming heroes however. There’s the A button for jumping, and then there’s the B button for jumping and… oh, shouldn’t forget about the X and Y buttons which are for jumping. There is pretty much nothing else to her aside from two power-ups, one allowing her to headbutt the floor while the other let her hover. I don’t have an issue with this too much as a 3D Platformer doesn’t need to be overly complex, but this does mean that the stages themselves have to make up for this limitation as a result.
Fortunately, the stages are for the most part good. They are built around the limitation of a fixed camera, and each stage has its own unique gimmicks such as rotating blocks or a top-down dungeon a la The Legend of Zelda (conveniently, Super Mario 3D Land also has such a stage). I have to give the developer credit for making these stages work with the minimalistic design they went for… though I am inclined to rob that credit again for some of the stars being asinine to find–not because they are hidden well, but because they are off-camera. Platforms that appear only when you’re near the edge, caves that are vertically placed on a wall and therefore not noticeable until you start hugging walls etcetera. It didn’t happen too often but when it did, boy was it annoying. If you don’t care for the collectable stars then you most likely won’t have the same complaints as I do; the levels are overall fine, with only a select few times where the camera worked against me.
Which finally brings me to the bosses. Let’s not kid ourselves: the boss(es) of Super Mario 3D Land were complete garbage, pretty much the same for every world with the only difference being the arena layout. This could have been Suzy Cube’s chance to make that difference but nope! 5 bosses, and they’re all the same with a few different attacks. What makes them worse even, is that you have to wait for their attack patterns to finish before you can damage them, which can easily last one minute or more. So we don’t just have boring bosses, but bosses that also take way longer to beat than they should take.
Suzy Cube has a direct inspiration in a 3D Platformer made by a very well-known company, and has been able to translate that specific game’s design well into its own. At the same time, it doesn’t attempt to go beyond the limitations of what the inspiration was forced to work with, and as a result feels very basic in comparison. Suzy controls fairly smoothly overall, but there’s little going for her besides a regular jump and a very small pool of power-ups. The stages do all feel different and while they work well with the fixed camera, the collectables are often cheaply-placed off-camera. I liked the boss the first time, but he returns 5 times with very slight alterations that only end up in the fights dragging out. Suzy Cube is overall a fine game, but I would have liked to see it break free from its inspiration just a bit more.
Final Score: 6.0/10
And there you have it, my first attempt at a mini-review! I’d say it worked out fairly well, and I hope to do more of these in the future because I very occasionally play games that don’t have a lot going for them. Of course, this does in no way mean these games are bad, and I hope I didn’t give you the impression with this review either. Suzy Cube is still a fine game, but it just doesn’t have a lot going for them so I didn’t really have a lot to talk about. A lot of that is probably easily explained because it’s a mobile game first- and foremost, but it’s also a Steam game so I treat it as a Steam game.
Next time, I’ll most likely make a review about the Nintendo DS game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village. It might take a bit longer to write since I have a bit of trouble getting my opinions straight on that game, but that’s something we’ll discover in due time.
How do you feel about a game basically mimicking another game’s design pretty much point-for-point? And do you have examples of such a situation to describe your opinions towards the subject?
For me personally, I am completely fine with games taking direct inspiration from another game, as long as it stays at the core design. All the assets and design should be their own for sure. This is actually a question that I feel many people are divided upon as seen with the recent release of Genshin Impact, which has gotten a lot of (undeserved) hate for looking very similar to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I feel that if more games take such a successful game as inspiration while still being their own, there’s nothing wrong with it.