Voodoo Dice (XBLA)

Also available on Wiiware and PlayStation Network, Voodoo Dice is the latest downloadable game from Exkee. That probably doesn't mean much to a lot of people, but Exkee's a developer that has been around a little while and for whom each successive game dials up the quality a couple of notches.

Published by Ubisoft (a publisher most gamers will have heard of), Voodoo Dice tasks the player with taking control of a six-sided dice. The floor of each level is made up of a grid of square tiles, each of which represents a single move for the player or any of the enemies or movable objects that populate the gameworld.

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By moving your dice (left thumbstick), you actually roll it over, causing the number at the top of the dice to change to the next in sequence. This basic mechanic is core to much of the puzzle gameplay, with players challenged to match their top number with the top number of other dice in order to eliminate (or otherwise interact with) them.

There's quite a bit more to it than that, too, with some seriously cerebral moments between the gamer and a given level's exit. Enemies make an appearance and with them the game switches from strictly puzzle-based to actual action, with twitch reflexes and even twitch intellectual ability (solving puzzles under pressure) eventually required to progress.

The action ramps up at a good pace, with puzzles increasing in complexity and difficulty at a sensible rate, continuously challenging the way you consider the mechanics each time you think you've cracked them. The in-game help is good, too, ensuring the core stuff is adequately explained, yet leaving enough to discovery to keep things fresh and interesting.

Some of the basic mechanics can be a little clunky at times, like when moving an object off a teleporter zaps you away and you have to then teleport back to continue. There are times that this plays into the puzzle of the level but very rarely - mostly it just comes across as a quirk that the developers failed to work around. In the grand scheme of things this is a pretty minor gripe but worth mentioning as it is definitely noticeable.

There's a decent number of levels on offer, with challenging par times that will cause a whole new level of intensity when you try to beat them on your second play through. Level variety is smart too, with a constantly fresh challenge or all new twist on mechanics you thought you had already fully grasped. If you've played Chip's Challenge (an old PC / Atari Lynx game), you have a pretty good idea of what to expect here.

The visuals aren't anything to write home about, with a limited colour palette and average design flair hanging everything together. The few objects there are on the always-flat levels can frequently get in the way of the camera, for which you have only average control over. There's nothing overtly wrong with any of this stuff but it could definitely use some love and attention from someone experienced in such things.

The sound is similarly basic but just pips the graphics score due to some clever sounds used for enemies that imbue a bit of character. They have this distinctive and unique sound which just works wonderfully. Otherwise the sound does what sound needs to do in a videogame and little more.

If you like puzzlers and fancy playing them on your 360, this is a pretty decent and unique experience. The puzzling is good (especially once you get beyond just randomly rolling and hoping you match - it is possible to learn how dice work!) and the action is just enough to keep things interesting as your abilities improve. If you're at all interested, check out the demo at least - this could be just what you have been looking for.

"Quality action puzzling"
- Voodoo Dice
Follow Own it? Rating: G   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 15 Min


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Comments Comments (3)

Posted by Syn-Ryn
On Sunday 4 Jul 2010 12:01 PM
Reminds me of Devil Dice :D
The Host of Chaos
Posted by The Host of Chaos
On Sunday 4 Jul 2010 2:02 PM
4 July 2010, 12:01 PM Reply to Syn-Ryn
Reminds me of Devil Dice :D
Yeah me too, I was wondering if it was a sequel of sorts but doesn't look like it.
Posted by jbl316
On Sunday 4 Jul 2010 4:50 PM
This game was playable and the multiplayer was funny. Although some of the puzzles get REALLY hard and frustrating.