Namco Bandai introduces Trioncube, the puzzle strategy game for the Nintendo DS. Trioncube puts a new spin on the puzzle genre with some interesting innovations along with fun and creative characters. Step into cutely wierd world of Trioncube.

Right from the get go you can tell Trioncube is going to be a cute loveable game with the large cartoonish character on the box front, he is called the Captain and nothing more. In basics, Trioncube is just another twist on the puzzle genre. This could of worked against Trioncube, but it seems the gameplay has just enough charm and fun factor to welcome it into the over flooded market of puzzle games.Trioncube is definitely unique with in its approach to block matching. Namco Bandai even has an interesting back-story about a princess being kidnapped by an evil foe named ‘Hell Metal’ which intern makes you the person set to rescue the damsel in distress. The story might not be the most original, but at least the characters, sci-fi theme, and gameplay make up for any problems in originality.

Trioncube has four modes that are worth your time to explore. You can travel through 8 planets in a quest to defeat a diabolical Space Monster, or stick with the main mission of rescuing the Princess in a journey that takes you through 45 missions. Or just settle for some old school score and level achievements of trying to reach the 99th Dimension. Trioncube is easy to please and the game modes have enough variety and substance to keep you busy for few nights, but don’t expect Trioncube to become a week long love affair.

The actual gameplay of Trioncube is based on dropping blocks like the legendary game of Tetris. The goal is to match up chains of 3x3 stacks. The more stacks you can link together the faster your ship will go. Your ship or Penko as it’s called in the game, but resembles a bird is displayed on the right of your screen. You can’t let the enemy catch up with your ship, so this keeps you frantically looking to make the best combinations to gain speed. There are five different shapes to content with that make the action just right. The balance of the two elements really builds some excitement and is a clever twist on block building for no rewards. In Trioncube you instantly see results as your ship is propelled faster and faster.

Trioncube has everything in check concerning the gameplay department, and then it happens… Trioncube's purple Penko starts to loose gas and the game quickly feels dull and old. The reason why Trioncube ages so quickly is because there isn’t a challenge. After the original ten minutes to half hour learning curve, Trioncube just cruses along without ramping up the difficulty. This might be suitable for young gamers, but anyone looking for a sweating challenge that makes you heart race, you won’t find it hear. It’s too bad Namco Bandai didn’t adjust the difficulty meter a little more, because Trioncube has potential of being an interesting diversion for puzzle gamers.

For extra’s Trioncube adds a nice simple multiplayer mode where you can challenge a friend. In this mode you simple play off the main story mode and match up against Hell Metal as you try to gas up your spacecraft before your opponent. It’s simple and good enough since I suspect you won’t be getting together with you buddies for a night of Trioncube.  Along with the multiplayer, Trioncube has new backgrounds and visual effects you can unlock during the game. These skins and effects can be combined however you like added some bizarre visuals and sounds to the games already quirky theme. It’s a lot of fun to discover new content to spice up Trioncube and a nice addition that might just keep you locked for a while longer then you want.

Like Jennifer Aniston in Office Space, Trioncube has a lot of flair, but could use more. In that b-movie cheese way Trioncube delivers with the random words from King Pluto like "There are mites in my closet” and “it always rains after I was my car ”. Trioncube’s cast of characters help the cuteness factor that will catch the eye some gamers, although it might be a too cliché. The description of Hell Metal is “A Total Goth. He Kidnaps the Princess” and the Captain “A Space Captain. He is nothing more than that”. Trioncube, you're cute, you're trying, but your flair is a little thin for Chotchkie’s or Nintendo’s.

Trioncube’s cute charm and interesting spin on Tetris is fun for a while until the cuteness factor and fun starts to ware. Trioncube neglects the Nintendo DS touch screen which could have been a big boost in the gameplay category. Even with all its style and quirkiness Trioncube will unfortunately become forgettable over time. In the end Trioncube manages to wins me over notching into my good books, but buyers should beware of its short life span and easy difficulty.

I wouldn’t mind Namco Bandai giving Trioncube another shot because I feel the game has some positive merits. Let’s get that touch screen hooked up, let the Captain grow more than that cream puff, and crank up the difficulty. Then we might have a game that could offer a solid showing over crowed market of puzzle games on the DS.

Gameplay: 6, Graphics/Sound: 6.5, Innovation: 6, Mojo: 7. Final: 6.5 / 10

Good Cute and Quirky, Unlockable Flair, Interesting Gameplay Ideas
BadNo Use of the Touch Screen, Not Challenging, Humor is hit and miss
Reviewed by Jimmy | 03.05.07

  • Test your skills: With 4 modes, there are endless challenges! Travel through 8 planets to defeat the Space Monster on Arcade Mode, tackle 45 missions to rescue the Princess, take the challenge to reach up to Dimension 99 and more!
  • Challenge a friend: Invite a friend, or match up against Hell Metal to test your stacking skills! Can you fuel your ship faster than your mate?
  • Customize your experience: With 50 Effects and 10 screen Arts, the options are endless on how to create your very own look.
  • Different shapes, different strategies: With 5 different shapes, strategize to create your ultimate chain without breaking the 3x3 stacks.
  • Save up your coins: Accumulate coins through your games, and you can purchase new Effects and Arts - watch sushi rolls, dogs and tambourines pop out of your Trioncube!

Namco Bandai
Namco Bandai
Feb 2007