reviewed Strawberry Cubes
Alright it’s been like 3 hours and I believe I’ve explored most of the map and gotten around one and a half…lines? of collectibles. Still don’t know if there’s an actual “end” to the game but I think my eyes and brain have definitely reached their end so I’ll just call it quits here for now.
Concept, atmosphere, and eye-burning aesthetic are all top-notch. The idea of a game so cryptic and obtuse that only dedicated weirdos would figure out how to even play the dang thing is really funny to me and I think the game nailing its whole enigmatic, creepypasta-esque atmosphere really makes it work in the end. The vibrantly blood-red visuals combined with the sparse, inscrutable text plant a seed of mystery that propels your investigation of the game’s mechanics as well as a seed of foreboding that there may be something deeper, something more to it that you just haven’t figured out yet. There’s actually an interesting degree of environmental storytelling here, or at least the obtuse suggestion of it. Broken plates, flowers, chairs, birdmen, killer rectangles. It all seems to have some kind of intentional thematic meaning just out of reach, like it’s the long lost copy of a forgotten foreign import game that’s been so glitched out that no one knows what it was originally about anymore. It’s a neat effect!
The sense of discovery is I think the game’s strongest point. Figuring out a basic control or mechanic after some testing and theorizing is quite delightful and eventually utilizing a combination of mechanics to break the game in order to progress is even more satisfying. Though if there’s one particular criticism for me, I’d say that once you’ve collected a few of the major collectibles and have mastered glitching out the game to explore the map there’s actually not that much more gameplay to be found other than figuring out where you haven’t been in your mental map (or real map if you’ve been bothering to draw one the whole time). And it’s not like there's an actual story to keep you going or any bosses to beat or any real power ups to look forward to. Really the only thing that kept me going after figuring out the controls and mechanics was, again, the mysterious environmental storytelling and atmosphere, which was admittedly pretty cool but only goes so far.
Overall though, neat little game! I feel like with a game like this, a lot of people will probably start it up, be scared and confused for a good ten minutes and then just quit out of perplexion and frustration. But if you can, spend a little more time with it! It’s a pretty unique and experimental experience that I haven’t really seen another game try out before. Good stuff!
Reviewed on Jan 18, 2023