Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory just sort of popped up on Steam one day last week with a low price point and a deliciously cute theme. Being the keen-eyed (cheap) lover of platformers (masochist) that I am, I decided to give it a try.
Sugar Cube, as in both the game overall and the main character, is just too cute. The overalls-clad cube of sugar has big eyes and rosy cheeks. Each factory has a theme based around a type of sweet, each one just as cute as the last. And the game’s ever-so-rare enemies are googly-eyed treats. What’s not to go “D’awww” at?
Past the cute food theme, the googly-eyed enemies, and the game’s bright colors lies a solid puzzle platformer. It’s not hard enough to make you want to punch your monitor, but its puzzle elements are a balanced mix of thinking and performance — and in a sense, the entirety of Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory is a big puzzle. You have to think to be able to platform, and often you have to platform in order to think.
Let me explain
The backgrounds of the game are segmented in tiles. As you move, you flip the tiles behind you. Tiles that have platforms, spikes, springs, or what have you are flipped with the background tiles. Sometimes this just changes the color of platforms, but most often it either makes them disappear or replaces them with something else (spikes, ice, gum, switches).
There are times where you can tell what you’re going to get when you flip a tile, and there are times when you have no idea. This is especially true when jumping around blindly looking for hidden platforms.
Despite the sweet theme, the game is no cake walk. Even if it’s not as difficult as today’s standard indie platformer, you still have to put a good deal of effort into the game to finish. This is especially true if you’re trying to get the true ending.
My biggest and only real problem with Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory is how short it is: A mere two to three hours, even with the challenge the game presents over its 90 levels. I would expect such a short clear time from a flash game, but not a title that costs money. Even if it is cheap
So, is it worth it?
Sugar Cube: Bittersweet Factory is short and sweet, both figuratively and literally. I expected an easy and basic platformer, and instead got a medium-difficulty puzzle platformer with some surprising depth. You could do much worse for $6.99.