Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory PC Review
It’s cute, it’s fun, and it’s original. What more could you ask for from a simple indie game? Now you may be saying to yourself ‘well, there are also nice visuals, audio and gameplay.’ If so, don’t worry; it has all of that too! Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory is a great little 2D platformer that’s sure to make you smile. It may even stop you from having sugar in your tea.
At the beginning, you’re shown a short cutscene of a worried looking cube of sugar making a break for the cookie factory exit to avoid imminent death. A few sections of the back wall spin around revealing a platform that’s necessary for our sugar man to reach the exit. Puzzle one then begins showing you the basic main mechanic – flipping tiles. The background of each level is split into many small tiles that will be automatically flipped as you walk past. Every platform is attached to a tile so you need to be cautious about which ones you flip purposefully, as the platform may only exist on one side. A single wrong movement can change your environment and potentially kill the poor little cube.
Most of the time, you won’t know what’s on the flip side of the background until you’ve spun some tiles, so running around is a sure way to find platforms. Occasionally, there will be lights that allow you to slightly see through nearby tiles. You’re soon introduced to an ability that prevents you from automatically flipping them, which is very useful when your path is clear and you don’t want to go spinning platforms.
Most of the puzzles are pretty easy unfortunately, but new enemies and mechanics keep the game fresh. It only seemed to get difficult once I reached the ‘Cola Factory.’ Their timing aspects, gaps that fill with blocks every few seconds, and bubbles that pop unexpectedly certainly makes things tricky, especially whilst trying to concentrate on what tiles you’re flipping. Thankfully, there is a smartly implemented ‘retry’ key. A quick click of the R key will send you straight back to the beginning of the puzzle without so much as a loading screen. This is probably why it’s one of those games where you keep telling yourself, ‘ok one last try,’ over and over.
The last puzzle of each ‘Factory’ is a boss puzzle. A large enemy prowls about and must be avoided to reach the final exit. All but one of the bosses I found very simple, quick and easy. They have no clever solution which I couldn’t help but expect. There are so many intuitive and interesting ideas that could have been implemented into these not so special bosses; instead, all you find yourself doing is looking for a hidden platform that will allow you to bypass them. Every boss moves the same as well, making them very predictable towards the end. They have no special moves or ranged attacks and do little more than walk back and forth with an occasional jump.
The soundtrack is definitely worth mentioning as it is magnificent. It’s been no more than two hours since I finished playing, and I currently have the soundtrack on as I write this review. It’s everything that the graphics and story are – bouncy and colourful mixed with that mechanical puzzle vibe. You can get a preview of this awesome soundtrack here (‘Mad Piano’ is one to look out for). The sound effects also work very well with comical jump and springy bouncing sounds that are always entertaining.
Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory will entertain for around 3-4 hours only, but those would not be wasted hours. Multiple endings and achievements add objectives and replay value if you fail to get them first time around. I recommend this game to any one who enjoys original platformers, interesting mechanics, or just appreciates a beautiful puzzler.