A XenoCube is what you get when you wrap a Match-3 game around a Borg ship. The game board looks roughly like an extra-wide Rubik’s cube that’s floating in space. Your job is to find adjacent tiles that you can swap to create a row of three or more like-colored squares. One of the unique things about XenoCube is that these rows can wrap around a corner of the cube. It’s a fun, colorful, fresh take on the Match-3 genre.
The gameplay is textbook Match-3 stuff, but five different modes are on offer. Each mode follows the same set of rules, gives the gameplay a different flavor. Arcade Mode is time-based and requires quick thinking, while Zen Mode gives you unlimited time to make decisions, but each move depletes an energy bar. Hyper Mode is the most intense, as it asks you to do as much damage as you can in 90 seconds, with no time extensions.
Drizzled in stardust.
The game packs a lot of visual flair–in fact, almost too much. When you get a match, the squares explode in a display of fireworks before they’re replaced by new random colors. If you’re lucky, you’ll set off a colorful and explosive chain reaction that will test your device’s graphical capabilities. In fact, the game is only playable on fourth generation devices and newer.
But they take the visuals a little too far. The game has a fake 3-D effect that lets you subtly shift your view of the game by tilting your device. This doesn’t actually affect the gameplay, and turns out to be far more distracting than helpful. Thankfully, you can turn it off. There’s also a pointless augmented reality mode that uses your device’s camera to make it look like the cube is actually in the room with you. Again, this feels gimmicky and unnecessary.
But don’t let that turn you away from XenoCube. Even if the game won’t blow your mind with originality, it offers a fresh take on a tried-and-true genre. The different modes let you play with however much quick-thinking intensity or laid-back thoughtfulness you want. If you love Match-3 games, or you’ve been away from the genre for a while, XenoCube is a welcome addition to your device.