Game of the Month July, 2003:
Kickle Cubicle

System: NES Developer: Irem
Although Irem is most famous for their legendary R-Type series, they have been known to make some really strange and unusual games. Kickle Cubicle is one such game. As far as the gameplay goes, it's actually quite similar to games in the vein of the Lolo series. You control Kickle, a snowman-like character who must defeat enemies by creating blocks of ice and sinking islands. Imagine Adventures of Lolo meets Pengo and you might get a good idea of what Kickle Cubicle is like. So, actually, Kickle Cubicle is not so strange after all, but the characters and atmosphere are unusually cute, especially coming from a company like Irem, the makers of the R-Type games, Metal Storm, and In The Hunt. But it is this cute flavor that gives Kickle Cubicle much of its charm and personality.

Kickle was having strange Donkey Kong flashbacks...

Clucky's revenge! The objective of each level of Kickle Cubicle is not to kill all the enemies but to collect all of the red bags on the screen. More often than not, the red bags are separated from the main island, and you'll have to use enemies, which you freeze into ice blocks, to form bridges to them. If you know anything about videogames at all, you probably don't need me to tell you this is often easier said than done. There are many obstacles and enemies that obstruct your progress. Later stages may require you to push an ice block through a multi-part contraption, such as hammers that, when bumped, spin around and knock the block in a different direction. One problem I have with Lolo-style puzzle games is that the puzzles often fall into one of two categories: too easy or head-scratching hard. Too many of Kickle Cubicle's puzzles are of the former, taking me only one or two tries to conquer. Puzzles that are of the latter were often solved by me just doing random things until something worked. Even so, Kickle Cubicle has a strangely addictive quality; it's tough to put it down because you know that no matter how hard a puzzle may seem, you can get past it if you keep trying.

Another fun aspect of Kickle Cubicle are the four boss fights. During boss fights, you're trapped in a room with a giant-sized version of one of the game's normal enemies (except the end boss which is unique), and you must defeat him by kicking back the objects that he throws at you. None of these battles are all that tough, but I would have liked to have seen more of them. The story of Kickle Cubicle is kind of fruity and silly: You must save the Princesses of areas like the Toy Land, Vegetable Land, and Cake Land from being frozen in ice by the evil Wizard King (a snowman with a bucket on his head). The game has some colorful cinema scenes that accomodate the story, but the dialogue is cheesy at times (ever seen a sobbing strawberry shortcake?) One thing that really baffles me, though, is why the islands sink once you've beaten them. How does sinking the islands help save them? I don't know.

No one knows who left those popsicles on the ground, but it was gonna be one tough fight for those wanting ownership.

Although Kickle Cubicle may not be the most challenging game, it may be good for a few hours of entertainment, if you want to try something a little quirky and different, and with gameplay similar to Lolo or Pengo. If you beat the main game, you're given a password for a bonus set of harder puzzles that are tougher to solve than most in the main game.

Kickle Cubicle Links

  • My Kickle Cubicle Review - A complete review of this fantastic game.



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