Explosions are fun. That's a simple fact, as far as I'm concerned. One of my favorite shows is "MythBusters" on the Discovery Channel, and Adam and Jamie have much the same view of destruction that I have: the bigger the explosion, the better. So, what could be better than a game based on explosions?
Tim Stadlet's Cubic Disturbance is just such a game. The goal is to get the yellow outlined cube to the bottom of the screen. The only way to do this is by placing bombs in various locations and letting physics do the rest. You have an unlimited number of bombs, and you can place them literally anywhere on the screen that you wish, even on top of other objects. The closer a bomb is to a movable object, the greater the effect.
Each bomb is equipped with a timer that can be set anywhere from .1 seconds to 9.9 seconds. By scheduling bombs in sequence, you can move blocks around the game field, one explosion after another. Some blocks, however, are not affected. One type are the immobile walls that make up the level. Another type are blocks with a circle/stripe through them, which can only be moved by interacting with something else in motion. Some blocks come tethered to others, so that, for example, if you drop a block on one end of the tether, causing it to lower, it will raise the block at the other end. Still other blocks are pinned to the level and act as balances, rotating on their stationary pivot.
Many levels will take quite a bit of experimenting to get right. You can restart the level at any time, move bombs around, change their timing, and test again to your heart's content. The ultimate goal is to complete each level using the fewest number of bombs. Just because you were able to scoot the block to the ground with 7 bombs doesn't mean that you couldn't have done it with 5. There are multiple solutions to many levels, which adds to the variety and fun.
Analysis: Physics games have always been a favorite genre of mine, especially when they operate smoothly and correctly. Cubic Disturbance does both of these things, and does them well. It doesn't take long to get a good feel for how bomb placement will affect a given situation, which can cut down drastically on the trial-and-error involved in solving the later levels. I appreciate being able to return to a puzzle and tweak my solution without starting the whole game over. Half of the fun is going back to the timers, adjusting them by just a fraction of a second, and seeing what ensues.
Two things that I think would make this game more appealing: bigger explosions and sound. When I say "bigger explosions", I don't mean the physical force. Right now when a bomb explodes, a few white particles limp a few pixels away from the bomb's location, which doesn't exactly match the force that the bomb is generating. Something a little more impressive wouldn't go amiss here. Of course, when you think about explosions, you also think about the sound they make. There are no sound effects in Cubic Disturbance, which I think is a bit odd for a game about bombs. I have been known to make my own explodey sounds whilst playing the game, but a few bangs and booms would make the experience so much better.
Cubic Disturbance is a challenging physics game with a fun premise. If you like making things explode, then this game might just be for you. Just watch your hands and fingers there! (And for more destructive physics fun, try Ninja Kiwi's Boombot.)